2011-12 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Senior Day: Saturday's meeting vs. Wright State is Senior Day for Devin Brierly and Kaley May. Also, manager Patrick Mullen will be recognized. Brierly and May, who enrolled at BU in 2008, have been a part of 75 wins at Butler. The senior players, who are very close friends off the court, have also made three WNIT appearances and played in the Horizon League Women's Basketball Championship final twice.
2. Standings Update: The top six seeds are set for the upcoming Horizon League Women's Basketball Championship. The Bulldogs will be the tourney's No. 5 seed and will play at No. 4 seed UIC Wednesday, March 7 in a quarterfinal game. Green Bay has clinched the regular season title and top seed, followed by Detroit and Wright State. In all likelihood, Detroit has also earned a berth into the WNIT as the Horizon League's automatic qualifier.
3. Home Sweet Hinkle: Butler is 8-4 at home this year, continuing a multi-year trend of defending its home court. The Bulldogs are 31-10 at Hinkle over the past three seasons. That includes a 23-9 record at home against Horizon League opponents. BU is 5-4 at home against Wright State under Beth Couture.
4. Take The Ball Away: The Bulldogs are most successful when they apply pressure on defense and create turnovers. Butler is second in the Horizon League in takeaways per game at 18.0. Only Green Bay forces more turnovers than Butler. Two weeks ago, Butler forced 27 Loyola turnovers, including 23 steals. On Feb. 18, BU pressured UIC into 25 turnovers. Butler has forced 20 turnovers or more 10 times this season.
5. Young Bulldogs: Butler has had young teams in the past, but no team has had young players on the floor for more minutes than this year's BU squad. Through 28 games of the season, freshmen and sophomores are accounting for 69.3% of the team's total minutes. The Dawgs start freshman Hannah Douglas along with sophomores Jenna Cobb and Sarah Hamm. Two other freshmen, Haley Howard and Amanda Raker, have also started at times this season. Only one senior and one junior play significant minutes.
Butler vs. WSU: Butler leads the all-time series against Wright State 27-17, including a 14-7 mark against the Raiders in Hinkle Fieldhouse. Wright State has won the previous two meetings after a streak of five straight for Butler. Beth Couture is 10-9 against Wright State.
Previous Meeting: Kim Demmings scored with :04 left to lift WSU over Butler on New Year's Eve 48-47. It was a defensive affair, with BU leading 22-16 at half. Sarah Hamm had 15 points for Butler and Hannah Douglas scored 10. Shaunda Sandifer had 21 points and 14 rebounds for Wright State.
Haley's Big Game: Thursday night, Beth Couture said she was really happy for Haley Howard. The 5-11 freshman scored a career-high 23 points vs. Detroit, her first double-digit scoring night in nearly two months. She shot 7-for-13 with three 3-pointers and made all six of her free throws. Her previous career high was 19, set at Nevada in November.
Haley At FT Line: Haley Howard was 6-for-6 at the foul line vs. Detroit, also a career best. Howard has made 45 of 47 free throw attempts this season, good for 91.8 percent. She made her first 19 foul shots before missing one.
Bench Power: The Bulldogs rank second in the Horizon League in bench points per game. BU averages 16.2 points per game off the bench. Youngstown State (19.5) leads the league in this category.
Woman Of Steal: Jenna Cobb, who had a league-record 12 steals vs. Loyola on Feb. 16, is second in the Horizon League with 2.7 steals per game. The sophomore has 11 outings this season with 3+ steals. She had six thefts vs. Iowa State in November and against Green Bay in January.
On The Steals Record: Jenna Cobb's 12 steals vs. Loyola on Feb. 16 tied the Horizon League single-game record and broke a 25-year-old school record. Cobb broke the previous school record of 11 that was shared by three players. Melissa Kilgore was the last Bulldog to grab 11 steals, and that was in 1987. Cobb tied Julie Wojta of Green Bay, who had 12 steals earlier this season.
Getting Defensive: If Butler is going to finish the regular season on a winning note, the Bulldogs will need to do it on the defensive end. BU has limited three of its last five opponents to less than 55 points and 37% shooting. Loyola only managed 46 points against the Dawgs, while UIC scored 48 and Milwaukee just 54 last Thursday. Butler has held its opponents to less than 37% shooting 12 times this year.
Players Of The Week: Both Jenna Cobb and Sarah Hamm have been selected Horizon League Player of the Week this season. Cobb was honored on Feb. 6 after leading the Dawgs to wins at CSU and YSU. She had a career-high 21 points at Cleveland State on Feb. 2. Hamm was awarded two weeks later after averaging 19.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in victories over Loyola and UIC.
More Hamm Please: Sarah Hamm, Butler's offensive go-to player, did not play vs. Detroit due to injury. The Bulldogs had a scary moment when the 6-2 sophomore went down with an injury last weekend at Green Bay. She left the game at the 5:17 mark in the first half and didn't return. She is being evaluated. Hamm averages team highs in scoring (11.1) and rebounding (5.5).
Sarah's Big Games: Sarah Hamm has five games this season with at least 18 points. She totaled a career-high 30 points on 11-for-19 shooting against Milwaukee on Jan. 28, a week after scoring 23 points at UIC on Jan. 19. She scored 20 points vs. Loyola and 18 vs. UIC to get player of the week honors last week. She also had a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double at Cleveland State on Feb. 2.
Jenna At The '1': Jenna Cobb, a sophomore guard, is known for her tenacity and energy as a player. In January, Beth Couture moved her to the point position and the move has definitely worked. Cobb scored a career-high 21 points at Cleveland State on Feb. 2 and has six games with nine or more points since moving to point guard back on Jan. 21. The sophomore Ohio native is averaging 10.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.9 steals per game since Jan. 21.
40 At The 1: Jenna Cobb played 40 minutes Thursday night against Detroit. It was the second time this year she has played all 40 minutes in a game. The other time was at Cleveland State on Feb. 2.
A Tighter Circle: Butler used just seven players against Detroit, the fewest of the season. At least eight players had played in every other game this season. All seven Bulldogs played at least 12 minutes vs. Detroit.
Block Party: Butler is second in the Horizon League with 3.1 blocks per game. In league play, BU is second with 2.8 rejections per contest. After 28 games this season, Sarah Hamm blocked 46 shots, tops in the Horizon League. Hamm had 15 stuffs in her last seven games and 21 blocks over the last nine. She owns eight games this season with 3+ blocks. In league play, Hamm has a league-best 1.8 blocks per game.
Wins vs. Losses: Offense has been the difference between winning and losing this season. In its 12 wins, Butler scores 65.7 points and shoots .418 from the floor. In its 15 losses, BU drops to 52.3 points on .335 shooting. Sarah Hamm averages a team-high 13.7 points and Devin Brierly scores 12.9 points in Butler wins. No Bulldog player averages 10 points in the team's losses.
'Devin-itely' Better: Devin Brierly, the only senior playing significant minutes this season, entered this season averaging 4.4 points per game for her career. She has been asked to lead and score this year, averaging 10.8 points per game. She has five 20-point games, including a recent stretch of three in a row. She had no 20-points games in her first three seasons. Brierly, who leads the team in minutes played, is second on the team with 42 made 3-pointers.
Devin's Big Games: Devin Brierly leads Butler with five 20-point games. She twice scored a career-high 22 points this season, against Ball State in December and at Youngstown State a month ago. She had 21 vs. Loyola on Feb. 16 and 20 at IPFW early in the season. Her career high enter this season was 19, coming against Milwaukee last year.
Up Next: Butler will open play in the 2012 Horizon League Women's Basketball Championship Wednesday, March 7 at UIC. BU has clinched the No. 5 seed. UIC is the No. 4 seed. The winner advances to the semifinals, most likely to be held at Green Bay.