INDIANAPOLIS - On Senior Day, it was a freshman who led the Bulldogs. Hannah Douglas scored a career-high 31 points and the Butler women's basketball team raced to an 81-66 win over Wright State on Saturday. The win ended a three-game skid for the Bulldogs.
Douglas' 31 points was the highest single-game total for a Butler player this year. Sophomore Sarah Hamm had 30 points in a game against Milwaukee earlier this season. The freshman lefty finished with 12-for-20 shooting and made four 3-pointers.
Senior Devin Brierly added 14 points, seven assists and five rebounds and fellow senior Kaley May scored a career-high eight points on an exciting and emotional day for the Butler women's basketball program.
"We wanted today to be special for Devin and Kaley," head coach Beth Couture said. "We've had a lot of adversity this season and they've kept our team together. "We won't have 20 wins this year, but without them, this season could've been done a long time ago."
WSU's star freshman, Kim Demmings, had 20 points and six rebounds. Molly Fox had 16 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Wright State only played seven players, and four scored in double figures.
Butler started fast, leading the game all afternoon. Wright State never held a lead. Douglas scored seven quick points to start the game as Butler went ahead 12-4. WSU scored eight straight points to make it 12-12. BU was playing well and Wright State made enough plays to hang around. BU would soon answer with an 11-1 run to claim a 23-13 lead with 8:40 to go in the first half.
With the Dawgs leading 32-30 late in the first half, Demmings drove the lane and was called for an offensive foul. Wright State head coach Mike Bradbury, who already had one technical on the day, threw his suit jacket into the crowd and stomped around all over the floor. He was issued a technical foul and ejected with 23 seconds left in the half. Butler would score the next three points to close the half and lead 35-30.
"Sometimes when that happens, the momentum shifts," Couture said. "I think we kept doing what we do. We didn't let it affect us."
Butler continued to keep its composure in the second half as Demming and Fox helped WSU hang around. Butler led 50-47 before scoring six straight points to lead 56-47 with 9:27 to play. Leading 69-62 with 4:08 to play, BU finished the game on a 12-4 run over a span of 4:00. Butler's final field goal was a 3-pointer by May with 27 seconds left in the game.
May, who had 17 career points as a Bulldog, scored four points early and had her best collegiate game. Couture said her lay-up to start the game took the pressure off the Bulldogs offensively and was one of the biggest plays of the game.
"I wanted to come out aggressive, we all had to do that," May said. "I wanted to make the most of my opportunity. Knowing that it was my last time playing on the beautiful Hinkle floor, I wanted to make the most of it."
Butler finished its regular season with a 13-16 overall record and a 9-9 Horizon League mark. The Bulldogs will be the No. 5 seed in next week's Horizon League Women's Basketball Championship. Butler will play at No. 4 seed UIC Wednesday, March 7 at 8 p.m. ET. The win over Wright State gives BU confidence heading into tournament play.
"To see our effort today shows me that our team is still ready to go," Couture said. "They've put a passion in me to work my tail off and see what we can do in this tournament."