2012-13 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. New Conference: As college athletics has been rocked by realignment in recent years, Butler got into the act. This spring, President James Danko and Athletic Director Barry Collier announced BU would become an all-sports member of the Atlantic 10 Conference. The A-10 also added VCU, which faced Butler in the 2011 NCAA Men's Final Four. There are 16 teams in the conference this season, with Temple and Charlotte set to leave in 2013. Butler's only sports not in the Atlantic 10 are women's golf and football, which aren't sponsored by the conference.
2. We Need Nametags: Butler has nine freshmen and sophomores on this year's team, and one can say it may be one of the youngest teams in the nation. Beth Couture's squad has seven newcomers, including three transfers. Only four players who enter the season healthy and able to play saw action on last year's team.
3. 4 Straight 20s: Prior to last year, Butler had won 20 games in each of the past four seasons, the first time the team has achieved that as a Division I program. The Bulldogs went 20-14 in 2010-11 and finished second in the Horizon League. The Bulldogs were 23-10 in 2009-10, the team's most wins since 1998. BU was 20-10 in 2007-08 and followed that with a 20-12 season in 2008-09. Butler is 96-62 during the last five seasons.
4. Trio of WNIT Berths: The Bulldogs played in the postseason in three of the past four seasons, earning the Horizon League's automatic berth into the WNIT each time. In 2009, BU won 20 games and advanced to the WNIT second round, defeating Duquesne and losing to Marquette. In 2010, Butler won 23 games before falling 57-54 at Illinois State in the first round. In 2011, Butler won 20 games before losing at Wisconsin in the WNIT first round.
5. Leading Scorer Out For The Year: Sarah Hamm, a second team All-Horizon League pick last year and BU's leading scorer and rebounder, will not play this season. She suffered an ACL tear in preseason workouts. Hamm, a 6-2 center, averaged 11.1 points and 5.5 rebounds last year. She had nine outings with 15+ points last year before suffering an ACL tear at Green Bay on Feb. 25.
38th Season Of Hoops: The 2012-13 season is Butler's 38th as a varsity program. BU is 540-436 (.551) all-time, including a 161-144 mark under 11th-year head coach Beth Couture.
...38th Season Opener: Butler is 12-25 all-time in season openers, often playing on the road to start the season. BU lost last year's opener 62-39 vs. UNLV at Iowa. The Bulldogs then responded with a 69-68 win over Harvard the next day.
No Experience Needed: In a survey done during the offseason, it was determined that Butler is the 16th least-experienced team in the nation. The players on BU's roster average 1.077 years of college experience, tied with Nicholls State for 16th. San Jose State was tagged the country's least experienced team (0.444).
Becca Out For The Year: Becca Bornhorst, the team's lone senior on the roster, will not play this season but will remain on the roster. The 6-1 forward, who played in 61 career games with 37 starts, had offseason leg surgery and decided not to play. Bornhorst averaged 4.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game last season.
Butler In The Horizon League: Butler was consistently the Horizon League's second-best program. The Dawgs were 49-23 in league play over their last four seasons in the HL, finishing second in the regular season standings three times.
WNIT Rematch: Saturday night's game at Marquette pits the Bulldogs against the team that beat them in the second round of the 2009 WNIT. After a last-second win at Duquesne, Butler lost to MU 58-49. The Bulldogs were down 39-23 in that game, closed to within 41-40 before the Golden Eagles pulled away again.
Butler At Milwaukee: The Bulldogs are 8-14 all-time in games in the city of Milwaukee. BU is 1-2 at Marquette and also owned a 7-12 mark at UW-Milwaukee, a league opponent of Butler's for 18 seasons.
Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 161 victories at Butler, sits alone atop BU's all-time women's basketball wins list. In 2011, Couture passed Linda Mason, who coached at BU from 1976-84 and won 124 games. The record-breaking victory came at UIC on March 4, 2011.
First-Time Opponents: With the league change this season, Butler will be playing eight schools for the first time ever. BU's first-time opponents this year are: Fairfield, Portland State, Charlotte, St. Joseph's, UMass, VCU, George Washington and Richmond.
Couture's Cause: When not patrolling the Butler sideline, Beth Couture has spent her time in the battle against breast cancer. Couture, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 2009, rushed through treatments to make it on the sidelines for the start of the 2009-10 season. Couture has been cancer-free for more than a year and has participated in several awareness events. She walked 38 miles over a two-day span for St. Vincent's Weekend To End Breast Cancer during the fall. She is also the honorary chairwoman for 2011 St. Vincent Woman of Hope, a breast cancer awareness group. Each Woman of Hope participant pledges to raise or give $1,000 annually for the cancer cause of her choice.
Trio Of Transfers: A key to this season will be the production the Bulldogs get from their three transfers: Daress McClung, Taylor Schippers and Liz Stratman. McClung, a 6-0 forward from Cincinnati, will be the starting '4.' She played two seasons at UC before sitting out last season. Schippers, a point guard from Texas, will take over the BU offense after playing last year at
Oklahoma State. Schippers started 17 games at OSU and helped the Cowgirls win the WNIT. After final exams, Butler will add 6-2 post player Liz Stratman, who came to Butler last year from Xavier.
Hannah's Big Game: Hannah Douglas, who started 27 games last season, has shown the ability to score in bunches. In Butler's home finale last season, the sophomore put up 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 was the highest by a Butler player in 2011-12 and tied for third highest in the Horizon League. Her previous career high was 15 points.
Mandy Makes 3s: Mandy McDivitt led the Dawgs last year with 47 made 3-pointers. Twice last season, McDivitt went off for six made 3-pointers. She nailed 6 of her 13 attempts at Valparaiso on Jan. 14 and then made 6 of 10 at Youngstown State on Feb. 4. Of her 81 career field goals, 72 have been 3-pointers.
Butler Background: Amanda Raker, a sophomore from Indianapolis, has the pedigree for success at Butler. Her father, Gary, played two seasons of basketball at BU from 1978-80 after playing two years at Oklahoma. Gary Raker, a 1975 Indiana All-Star, averaged 11.8 points per game over 52 games at Butler.
Up Next: After playing at Marquette, the Bulldogs will make the short trip to Ball State Tuesday, Nov. 13. BU's home opener is Saturday, Nov. 17 vs. Fairfield.