Butler Takes On Former League Foe Cleveland State

Amanda Raker

2012-13 Butler Women's Basketball

Butler (7-6) at Cleveland State (8-4)
Thursday, Jan. 3 - 6 p.m. ET
Cleveland, Ohio - Wolstein Center
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The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines

1. League Reunion: Butler, one week away from playing its first Atlantic 10 opponents, will be going back in time this weekend. The Bulldogs' contest at Cleveland State reunites the two schools who were league opponents from 1994-2012. The Bulldogs and Vikings played 39 times, with BU winning 26 games. 

2. All 3 Transfers Together: Two transfers, Daress McClung and Taylor Schippers, have been Butler's top two players this season. They recently got more help in the form of another transfer, Liz Stratman. 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. Stratman, a 6-2 transfer from Xavier who is averaging 12.5 points and 4.2 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.

3. January Openers: Butler has won its January opener in each of the last four seasons. BU defeated Youngstown State to open 2012 and took down Valparaiso in its 2011 opener. The 2010 calendar year began with a win over Loyola and on Jan. 3, 2009 Butler defeated Cleveland State 55-46. Butler is 5-5 in January openers under Beth Couture.

4. Block Party: The Bulldogs are leading the A-10 in blocked shots with 6.6 swats per game. Seven times this season the Bulldogs have rejected at least eight shots in a game. BU swatted a season-best 12 shots against Illinois State last week. BU also had 11 blocks vs. Valparaiso back in November. Over the last four games, Butler has blocked 39 shots (9.75 per game). Nationally, BU ranks 23rd in the country in blocks. Daress McClung leads the conference and stands 25th in the nation with 2.7 blocks per game. Liz Stratman averages 4.2 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. State Of Ohio: Over the past four seasons, the Bulldogs are 26-10 against schools from the state of Ohio. That includes a 7-3 mark against Cleveland State. 

Coaching Matchup: 2003-04 was Beth Couture's second season at Butler, and that's when Kate P. Abiad took over at Cleveland State. The two coaches have become friends and friendly rivals, coaching against each other 21 times. Beth Couture is 15-6 against Abiad. 

For Starters: Through the first 13 games this season, Beth Couture has used the same starting lineup. That's the longest stretch of using the same lineup to start a season in her 11 years at Butler. Last season, Butler used nine different starting lineup combinations. 

Stat Sheet Stuffer: Daress McClung is Butler's "do-everything" player. The 6-0 junior is averaging 15.2 points and 9.5 rebounds. She is also leading the Atlantic 10 in blocked shots (2.7) while leading Butler with 2.5 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 in a win over Indiana State. She also blocked three shots and dished three assists against the Sycamores. 

December Record: Butler shook off a slow November to go 4-2 in the final month of 2012. It was BU's best December record since 2009, when it was 5-1. The Bulldogs were 3-4 in December last season.

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.  

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 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.

Steals And Blocks: Butler had season highs in both steals and blocks against Illinois State. The Bulldogs swatted 12 shots, highlighted by Liz Stratman's five rejections. Butler also came up with 15 steals, including six by Daress McClung. Six different BU players came up with a theft against Illinois State.

Charity Work: Butler is converting 73.4 percent of its free throw attempts, ranking third 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 (.775). 

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.

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.

Up Next: Following Thursday's game at Cleveland State, the Bulldogs will fly to Chicago and play UIC. The Bulldogs and Flames will play Saturday, Jan. 5 at UIC Pavilion.