December 29, 2012

Bulldogs Close 2012 vs. Illinois State

2012-13 Butler Women's Basketball

Butler (7-5) vs. Illinois State (7-4)
Sunday, Dec. 30 - 2 p.m. ET
Indianapolis, Ind. - Hinkle Fieldhouse
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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 and is averaging 15.7 points and a team-best 9.5 rebounds. In addition, Butler now has the services of Liz Stratman, a 6-2 transfer from Xavier who is averaging 11.3 points and 4.0 blocks per game. She scored 14 points in her first two games this year. The trio combined for 35 points, 23 rebounds and seven blocks against Indiana State. 

2. WNIT Rematch: Beth Couture's best team, the 2009-10 Bulldogs which went 23-10, had its season end at Illinois State. The Redbirds edged Butler 57-54 in Normal. The only current Butler player who played in that game is Becca Bornhorst, who grabbed five rebounds in 11 minutes in that game. Illinois State went on to the WNIT semifinal and lost to California.

3. Win Streak: Butler has won four straight games and has only lost once in December. BU's last four-game winning streak came in January 2011 when the Dawgs beat Cleveland State, Youngstown State, UIC and Loyola. Butler's longest win streak under Beth Couture is eight games, which the team did in both 2007-08 and 08-09.

4. Block Party: The Bulldogs are leading the A-10 in blocked shots with 6.2 swats per game. Six times the Bulldogs have rejected at least eight shots in a game. BU swatted 11 shots against Valparaiso and eight apiece against Portland State, Bowling Green and Indiana State. 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 2.6 blocks per game. Liz Stratman averages 4.0 blocks per game and is on pace to be ranked when she's played in enough games.

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. Illinois State: The Redbirds lead the all-time series vs. BU 2-1, and Illinois State won the only meeting at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Beth Couture is 1-2 against Illinois State, and her first win as Butler's coach came against Illinois State in 2002.

Stat Sheet Stuffer: Daress McClung is Butler's "do-everything" player. The 6-0 junior is averaging 15.7 points and 9.5 rebounds. She is also second in the Atlantic 10 in blocked shots (2.6) while leading Butler with 2.2 steals per game. McClung has posted all five of Butler's double-doubles this season. 

More On McClung: Daress McClung hauled in a career-high 14 rebounds against Indiana State. She also blocked three shots and dished three assists.

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. 

How Did Butler Win?: BU shot a season-low .294 against Indiana State, but still won the game 56-45. The Bulldogs won the game by making 20 foul shots and only committing 12 turnovers. Butler's defense was at its best, allowing a season-best 45 points while keeping Indiana State to .316 shooting. The Bulldogs held Indiana State to 19 points in the second half of the victory.

Steering The 'Schip': Taylor Schippers is Butler's starting point guard and leading scorer. She has scored at least 11 points in every game, including a career-best 27 points at St. Mary's over Thanksgiving. Schippers ranks fourth in the A-10 with 16.6 points per game. She is fifth in the conference in FT shooting (.829) and seventh in minutes (34.0).  

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. 

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 (.829) and Hannah Douglas (.778).

Added Punch: Liz Stratman has been a welcomed addition to the team. The 6-2 transfer from Xavier is averaging 11.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game. She scored 14 points against both Northern Kentucky and IUPUI. Butler is 3-0 with Stratman in the rotation. 

Going Inside: Butler shot a season-low eight 3-pointers against IUPUI while getting to the foul line a season-high 31 times. BU then shot 27 free throws against Indiana State. The Bulldogs have shown a better effort going inside, especially with the recent addition of Liz Stratman.

Indiana Sweep: Butler will have bragging rights within Indiana borders for the next year. BU went 5-0 against Indiana schools, with wins over Indiana, Valparaiso, Indiana State, Ball State and IUPUI. It marks the second time Butler has swept Indiana schools under Beth Couture. In 2009-10, BU went 6-0 against in-state opponents.

Butler vs. State Of Indiana: Dating back to 2007, Butler owns a 27-11 record against schools from the state of Indiana. BU has won eight games against Indiana schools over the past two seasons.

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.

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.

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.  

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). 

Raker's Best: Amanda Raker, who started Butler's first 12 games, has been playing her best basketball recently. She tied her career bests in points (12) and rebounds (9) against Indiana. She had 10 of those points in the first half as BU built a 40-25 lead. Raker also had 12 points against Portland State. 

Butler In The HL: Before leaving for the A-10, 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 standings three times.  

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 are able to play saw action on last year's team.

Butler Background: Amanda Raker 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.

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.

Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 168 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: Butler will open 2013 against two familiar opponents. BU will travel to former conference foes Cleveland State and UIC Jan. 3-5 to close non-conference play.