Tourney Time: #5 Butler At #4 UIC
2011-12 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Tourney Time: Butler, which finished 9-9 in the Horizon League this season, is the No. 5 seed in this week's conference tournament. BU has advanced to the league championship final in each of the last two years and three times under Beth Couture. The Bulldogs are 9-9 in Horizon League Women's Basketball Championship games under Couture, and Butler has won its quarterfinal game four of the last six years.
2. All-Horizon League: The Horizon League announced its postseason awards and Sarah Hamm and Jenna Cobb represented Butler. Hamm, BU's leading scorer and rebounder, was named second team all-league and Cobb was on the HL's all-defensive team. Hamm averaged 11.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game this year, and increased that to 13.2 points and 5.9 boards in league play. Cobb, Butler's starting point guard, is third in the league in steals and tied the conference's single-game steals record with 12 thefts on Feb. 16 vs. Loyola.
3. Dawgs In Chicago: The Bulldogs have won nine of their last 10 games in the city of Chicago. Before losing 77-42 at UIC this season, Butler had won four in a row at the Pavilion. Beth Couture is 13-8 during her career in the city of Chicago.
4. Senior Sendoff: Butler's seniors went out in style in BU's 81-66 Senior Day win over Wright State on Saturday. Brierly had 14 points and seven assists and May started and scored eight points as Butler won an emotional game. Brierly and May, who enrolled at BU in 2008, have won 76 games 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. Also, manager Patrick Mullen was recognized.
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. During the regular season, freshmen and sophomores are accounting for 69.0% 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. UIC: Butler leads the all-time series against UIC 28-19, including an 11-9 mark against the Flames in the Windy City. BU has won nine of the last 11 meetings against UIC and Beth Couture has a 12-10 record against the Flames.
BU-UIC This Season: Butler and UIC split their two meetings this season, with the home team winning each game. Shameia Green scored 29 points and UIC shot .633 in the first half to beat BU 77-42 in Chicago back on Jan. 19. A month later, the Bulldogs clamped down on defense to beat UIC 51-48 at Hinkle on Feb. 18. Sarah Hamm scored 23 points to lead Butler to that win.
BU-UIC In Tourney: Butler and UIC have met twice in the league tournament since Beth Couture came to BU in 2002. Butler played at UIC in 2005, losting 78-47. BU got even two years later in the 2007 league semifinal, defeating UIC 88-83 in overtime to advance to the championship game.
BU In Quarterfinal: The Bulldogs are 6-3 under Beth Couture in the league quarterfinal round. That includes a win in each of the past two seasons.
Offensive Explosion: Butler had highest-scoring game of the year over the weekend, putting up 81 points in a fast-paced game vs. Wright State. The Bulldogs, led by Hannah Douglas with 31 points, tied a season high with 29 made field goals. Butler scored 46 points and shot .531 in the second half in the win over the Raiders.
Hannah's Big Game: Hannah Douglas scored 31 points to lead BU to a win over Wright State. She finished 12-for-20 shooting and made 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Her 31 points is the highest by a Butler player this season and tied for third highest in the Horizon League this year. Her previous career high was 15 points.
Senior May: Making her first career start on Senior Day, Kaley May took advantage of the opportunity. May scored BU's first points of the game and finished with eight points. She had 17 points over the previous three seasons. At the 0:27 mark in the second half, she fired her first career 3-pointer and nailed it to give Butler a 79-63 lead.
Hold The Hamm: Sarah Hamm, a 6-2 center who was named second team All-Horizon League, is out for the season after suffering a left knee injury on Feb. 25. She finished her season with averages of 11.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. She averaged 13.2 points per game in Horizon League play. Hamm also had her freshman season ended early with a knee injury last year.
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 18.1. Only Green Bay forces more turnovers than Butler. On Feb. 18, BU pressured UIC into 25 turnovers. Butler has forced 20 turnovers or more 11 times this season.
Haley's Big Game: Last 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 last week, 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.
Woman Of Steal: Jenna Cobb, named to the league's all-defensive team this week, enters the tourney third in the conference with 2.7 steals per game. Cobb, known for her intensity and hustle plays, had a league-record 12 steals vs. Loyola on Feb. 16. 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.
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.
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.
With Hamm Sidelined: Since Sarah Hamm's injury, Amanda Raker and Haley Howard have played more minutes in the post. Each freshman has seen minutes increase over the last few games. Also, Butler has gone small at times by starting four guards. Mandy McDivitt started Butler's game vs. Detroit, putting four guards around Becca Bornhorst.
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.
Cobb Scoring More: Jenna Cobb, who is known for her defense, 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 9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.7 steals per game since Jan. 21.
'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 10.9 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.
Turnover Margin: Mainly due to its pressure defense, Butler ranks second in the Horizon League with a +1.5 turnover margin. The Bulldogs only trail Green Bay in this category. Butler has had a positive turnover margin 17 times this season. At Milwaukee on Feb, 23, the Bulldogs committed a season-low eight turnovers. Last Saturday vs. Wright State, Butler only turned to ball over nine times.
Up Next: Butler's next loss will be its last. A win Wednesday night at UIC will send BU to the semifinal of the Horizon League Women's Basketball Championship. The site is the highest remaining seed, most likely Green Bay. The two semifinal games are Friday, March 9 with the championship set for Sunday, March 11.