The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. All 3 Transfers Together: Daress McClung and Taylor Schippers have been Butler's top two players this season, leading Butler in scoring in every game this season. Schippers, a 5-8 point guard from Oklahoma State, leads BU in scoring and assists. McClung, a 6-0 forward, came to BU from Cincinnati. She is averaging 16.3 points and a team-best 9.1 rebounds. In addition, Butler now has the services of Liz Stratman, a 6-2 transfer from Xavier who has scored 14 points in each of her games this year. The trio combined for 43 points and 18 rebounds on Tuesday at IUPUI.
2. Coaching Connection: Indiana State head coach Teri Moren, in her third season at Indiana State, was an assistant coach at Butler for six seasons. She was on the staff under June Olkowski during Butler's last NCAA appearance, which came in 1996.
3. Atlantic 10 Player of the Week: Daress McClung has been selected Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week. She had an all-around excellent performance in Butler's 66-56 win at Northern Kentucky. McClung totaled 15 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. It was her fifth double-double of the season. The redshirt junior also added six blocked shots and four steals in the Butler victory.
4. Charity Work: Butler is converting 73.8 percent of its free throw attempts, nearly the highest mark in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Bulldogs currently rank 33rd in the nation in free throw percentage as well. Butler has shot at least 75 percent at the foul line in seven of this season's games, highlighted by a 14-for-15 (.933) effort vs. Valparaiso. Individually, BU is led at the charity stripe by Taylor Schippers (.826) and Hannah Douglas (.794).
5. Big Ten Win: Butler's 59-56 win over Indiana on Dec. 9 was BU's first win over a Big Ten opponent for Beth Couture and the first since 1998. That season, BU defeated Michigan State and Illinois. Daress McClung led the Bulldogs with 21 points and 12 boards against the Hoosiers. BU led by 22 at one point and had a 40-25 lead before hanging on in the final minute.
Butler vs. Indiana State: Butler leads the all-time series vs. Indiana State 12-10. The Bulldogs and Sycamores have split the last four meetings, including a 49-46 ISU win in Terre Haute last season. Beth Couture is 3-4 against Indiana State.
Last Year's Meeting: Two players who are currently injured led Butler in last year's game at the Hulman Center. Haley Howard scored 17 points and Becca Bornhorst added 14. ISU shot just 27 percent but managed to win.
More On McClung: Daress McClung owns all five of Butler's double-doubles this season. Prior to her 15 & 13 at Northern Kentucky, she poured in 19 points with 10 rebounds against both Marquette and Fairfield and had 18 points and 10 rebounds against Eastern Michigan. She also scored a career-high 20 points at Ball State.
All-Around Game: Daress McClung has been filling the stat sheet on both ends of the floor. She ranks fifth in the A-10 in both scoring (16.3) and rebounding (9.1) and is second in blocks (2.5). She tied her career highs in blocks (6) at NKU and had a career-best six steals at IUPUI.
No Experience Needed: In a survey done during the offseason, Butler was listed as 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.
Steering The 'Schip': Taylor Schippers is Butler's starting point guard and leading scorer. She has scored in double figures in every game, including a career-best 27 points at St. Mary's. Schippers ranks third in the A-10 with 16.6 points per game. She is seventh in the conference in FT shooting (.826) and sixth in minutes (34.3).
Schippers Named All-Tourney: Taylor Schippers was picked for the all-tourney team at St. Mary's after Thanksgiving. The 5-8 guard averaged 21.5 points and 3.0 assists per game during the two games in California. Her weekend included a career-high 27-point effort against St. Mary's, then she scored 16 vs. Portland State.
Going Inside: Butler shot a season-low eight 3-pointers against IUPUI while getting to the foul line a season-high 31 times. The Bulldogs have shown a better effort going inside, especially with the recent addition of Liz Stratman.
Hannah Consistent: Hannah Douglas has been a consistent scorer. The sophomore has scored between 9 and 13 points eight times this season. Douglas' career high of 31 points came last year against Wright State. Her emergence slashing to the basket gives BU a dependable perimeter scorer.
Injury Timeout: Butler is essentially playing without three injured starters. 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. Haley Howard, a sophomore forward who started in Butler's exhibition game, has a stress fracture and senior Becca Bornhorst is out for the year after offseason surgery.
Butler vs. State Of Indiana: Dating back to 2007, Butler owns a 26-11 record against schools from the state of Indiana. That includes a 3-2 mark against Indiana State.
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 five seasons before this year.
Block Party: The Bulldogs are leading the A-10 in blocked shots with 6.0 swats per game. Five times the Bulldogs have rejected at least eight shots in a game. BU swatted 11 shots against Valparaiso and eight apiece against Portland State and Bowling Green. On Sunday, Butler blocked 10 NKU shots, including nine by Daress McClung (6) and Liz Stratman (3). Nationally, BU ranks 23rd in the country in blocks. Daress McClung leads the conference and stands 25th in the nation with 2.5 blocks per game.
Ball Control: Until committing 26 miscues at IUPUI, BU owned the lowest amount of turnovers in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Butler commits just 15.9 turnovers per game, now standing third in the league. During a three-game stretch in November, Butler averaged just 10.3 turnovers per game. BU had nine turnovers against Fairfield, 10 against Valparaiso and 12 at St. Mary's. Only twice has Butler surpassed 20+ turnovers (at Ball State, at IUPUI).
Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 167 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.
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 is now cancer-free 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 Women 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.
Up Next: After the holiday, the Bulldogs close the 2012 calendar year by hosting Illinois State Sunday, Dec. 30 at 2 p.m.