2012-13 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Back On The Court: Due to a quirk in the schedule, Thursday's contest against Rhode Island is Butler's first game in eight days. The Bulldogs had a couple days off to rest, but also worked on a couple things. Butler spent the extra practice time improving on rebounding, which has been a weakness this season. BU is last in the A-10 in rebounding margin (-4.6).
2. Pink Zone Game: Butler's annual Pink Zone game will be Sunday, Feb. 17 vs. St. Bonaventure at 2 p.m. The breast cancer awareness event carries extra significance at Butler, as BU head coach Beth Couture is a breast cancer survivor and a prominent fundraiser for the cause. She has served as honorary chairwoman for St. Vincent's Women of Hope. The Bulldogs will show their support by donning pink uniforms and Nike shoes during the game against the Bonnies.
3. 'Do-It-All' Daress: Daress McClung, BU's leading scorer and rebounder, has filled the stat sheet almost on a nightly basis. The 6-0 junior ranks third in the A-10 in points (16.9) and fourth in rebounds (9.8) while also leading the conference in blocks (2.8). McClung averages 2.6 steals per game, good for fourth in the A-10, and she appears among the league leaders in field goal and free throw percentage. She owns seven outings with 4+ blocks and six games with 4+ steals. She has even raised her scoring in A-10 play, averaging 17.2 points per game against league opponents.
4. Block Party: The Bulldogs are leading the A-10 and currently rank second in the country in blocked shots with 6.7 swats per game. Nine times this season the Bulldogs have rejected at least eight shots in a game. BU swatted a season-best 12 shots against Illinois State and also had 11 blocks vs. Valparaiso and La Salle. In addition to Daress McClung leading the conference in blocks (2.8), Liz Stratman averages 3.0 swats per game and is on pace to be ranked nationally when she has played in enough games. Stratman had four blocks at UMass and against VCU.
5. Balanced Attack: Butler has had four primary scoring options emerge this season, two in the post and two on the perimeter. Taylor Schippers and Hannah Douglas are BU's outside scoring threats. Schippers averages 14.1 points and leads Butler in 3-pointers made. Douglas, a 9.0-point scorer, is known for driving to the basket and her mid-range game. Daress McClung (team-leading 16.9 points) can shoot, score in the post and get putbacks. Liz Stratman scores 12.1 points a game on the block and scoring in transition.
Butler vs. Rhode Island: The Bulldogs and Rams are meeting for the second time ever and the first time since 1989. The two teams met at Syracuse during Thanksgiving in 1989, with the Dawgs winning 72-56.
The Last Time They Played: In 1989, Beth Couture was in her first year as head coach of Presbyterian College. No player on BU's current roster was yet born at that time.
Top Dawgs: Butler has done an excellent job defending A-10 opponents after six games. The Bulldogs lead the conference in field goal percentage defense, holding teams to .332 shooting. Butler has held four opponents (Xavier, VCU, UMass and St. Joe's) to worse that 33 percent shooting.
Player of the Week Twice: Daress McClung has been picked as Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week twice this season. Her first honor came Dec. 17 after she had 15 points and 13 rebounds in a win at Northern Kentucky. The 6-0 forward picked up another notice on Jan. 7 after posting 26.5 points and 15.0 rebounds in BU's wins at Cleveland State and UIC. She posted 22 points and 18 rebounds at CSU then totaled 31 points and 12 rebounds to lead BU to an 84-61 win in Chicago.
True A-10 Test: Playing at unbeaten St. Joe's, BU proved it will be a force in the A-10. The Bulldogs led in that game by as many as 12 and held a 46-44 lead with 6:10 to play in the game. The more experienced SJU team made plays late to escape with the win.
Daress' Big Games: Daress McClung, BU's leader in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks, has put together some monster games this season. She had 25 points and nine rebounds vs. VCU, her sixth game this season with at least 20 points. McClung, who owns nine double-doubles this season, is averaging 21.3 points over the last four games.
Double-Double Duos: Twice this season BU has had two players with a double-double in the same game. Daress McClung (31 pts, 12 rebs) and Taylor Schippers (10 pts, 10 asts) posted double-doubles at UIC and McClung (20 points, 10 rebs) and Liz Stratman (14 points, 10 rebs) did at UMass.
Liz Has 5 On It: Liz Stratman has made exactly five field goals in each of the last four games, averaging 11.5 points per game in that span. She has nine games with at least five baskets this season.
Strat's Firsts: Liz Stratman made her first collegiate start in BU's win at UMass. She made it count, totaling 14 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. It was also her first career double-double.
Home Cooking: The Bulldogs are 6-3 this season at home, including a 2-1 mark in A-10 play. Butler went exactly 2-1 at Hinkle in each of the season's first three months.
Schippers Icing Games: If Butler has a late lead, the Bulldogs want the ball to go to Taylor Schippers. The BU point guard is shooting .854 from the foul line (41-of-48) during the last 5:00 of games this season. As a team, Butler is shooting .717 at the FT line during the last five minutes. Overall, Schippers stands fourth in the conference with an .812 mark at the foul line.
Scoring Jump: Taylor Schippers poured in 19 points at UMass, her highest scoring total since she scored 27 against St. Mary's back in November. She scored in double figures in 14 of the season's first 15 games and 17 of 21 overall.
In The National Rankings: In addition to being second in the country in blocks (6.7), BU stands among the nation's best in taking care of the ball. Butler ranks 60th in both turnovers per game (15.2) and also assist-turnover ratio (0.93). The Bulldogs are also 83rd in the country in assists (14.1). Individually, Daress McClung stands 11th in blocks and 50th in rebounding.
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 travel to the nation's capital this weekend for a road game at George Washington Sunday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m.