2012-13 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Pink Zone Game: Sunday's contest at George Washington is GW's Pink Zone game for breast cancer awareness. 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. The Bulldogs will show their support by donning pink uniforms and Nike shoes during the game against the Bonnies.
2. Top Dawgs: Butler has done an excellent job defending A-10 opponents after seven games. The Bulldogs lead the conference in field goal percentage defense, holding teams to .340 shooting. Butler has held four opponents (Xavier, VCU, UMass and St. Joe's) to worse that 33 percent shooting. VCU, La Salle and Rhode Island each failed to score 50 points against Butler.
3. 'Do-It-All' Daress: Daress McClung has filled the stat sheet almost on a nightly basis. The 6-0 junior ranks third in the A-10 in points (17.0) and fourth in rebounds (9.6) while also leading the conference in blocks (2.7). McClung averages 2.6 steals per game, good for third 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 seven games with 4+ steals. She has even raised her scoring in A-10 play, averaging 17.4 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 6.5 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 (2.7), Liz Stratman averages 2.9 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, two in the post and two on the perimeter. Taylor Schippers and Hannah Douglas are BU's outside scoring threats. Schippers averages 13.7 points and leads Butler in 3-pointers made. Douglas, a 9.1-point scorer, is known for driving to the basket and her mid-range game. Daress McClung (team-leading 17.0 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. GW: The Bulldogs and Colonials are meeting for the first time in women's basketball. The closest BU has ever come to the nation's capital was a 1994 trip to Maryland.
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 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 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.
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.
Turnover Battle: Butler is fourth in the A-10 in turnover margin, and averages just 15.2 miscues per game. The Bulldogs forced 28 turnovers against URI, resulting in a 26-6 edge in points off turnovers.
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.
Road Warriors: Atypical of such a young team, Butler has thrived on the road. BU is 7-4 in true road games after winning at La Salle and UMass in league play. The Bulldogs have also claimed wins at Ball State, Northern Kentucky, Cleveland State, UIC and IUPUI. Butler has won four of those games by double digits.
Lexus Driving Offense: Lexus Murry played a career-high 22 minutes vs. Rhode Island, and the freshman point guard answered by tying her career best of six assists against one turnover. Her defensive play at the top of Butler's press also contributed to URI's total of 28 turnovers.
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.
Stratman Takes Down Old Team: Liz Stratman had extra motivation in the win over Xavier, her former team. The 6-2 Stratman came off the bench for 13 points and eight rebounds as BU defeated XU. She played in 12 games there last year before transferring to Butler in December 2011. She averaged 15.5 minutes and 3.2 points per game before choosing to leave for BU.
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 .707 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 22 overall.
In The National Rankings: In addition to being second in the country in blocks (6.5), BU stands among the nation's best in taking care of the ball. Butler ranks 57th in both turnovers per game (15.2) and 60th in assist-turnover ratio (0.93). The Bulldogs are also 81st in the country in assists (14.1). Individually, Daress McClung stands 13th in blocks, 54th in rebounding and 77th in steals.
Up Next: Butler has another road game after Sunday's contest. BU plays at Charlotte Wednesday, Feb. 13. The game will be a homecoming of sorts for Beth Couture, who lived most of her life nearby in South Carolina.