Butler Back On Road At Charlotte
2012-13 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Couture Homecoming: Beth Couture, born in Rhode Island but raised in South Carolina, grew up approximately 100 miles from Charlotte. She is expecting a sizable contingent of family and supporters at Wednesday night's game. Butler has also played at Coastal Carolina (at Myrtle Beach) and South Carolina in recent years.
2. '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 blocks (2.6) while standing fourth in rebounds (9.3). McClung averages 2.6 steals per game, good for fourth in the A-10, and she appears among the league's top 10 in field goal and free throw percentage. She owns seven outings with 4+ blocks and seven games with 4+ steals. McClung, who has scored 20 points or more seven times this year, has raised her scoring in A-10 play. McClung averages 17.4 points per game against league opponents, up from 16.7 in non-league games.
3. Block Party: The Bulldogs are leading the A-10 and currently rank fifth in the country in blocked shots with 6.3 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 ranking third in the A-10 in blocks (2.6), Liz Stratman averages 2.8 swats per game and is on pace to be ranked nationally when she has played in enough games. Stratman had four blocks or more five different times this season.
4. 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 13.5 points and leads Butler in 3-pointers made. Douglas, a 9.3-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 11.6 points a game on the block and scoring in transition.
5. Turnover Battle: Butler has been one of the league's better teams in terms of taking care of the basketball. The Dawgs have had fewer turnovers than their opponent in six of eight A-10 contests. In four A-10 road games, the Bulldogs average 3.0 fewer turnovers than the other team. Only Dayton and Saint Joseph's have had less turnovers when playing Butler.
Butler vs. Charlotte: The Bulldogs and 49ers are meeting for the first time in women's basketball. Charlotte is one of eight first-time opponents (6 in the A-10) on this year's schedule. Butler is 2-4 this year against first-time opponents.
Road Warriors: Atypical of such a young team, Butler has thrived on the road. BU is 7-5 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.
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.
Daress' Big Games: Daress McClung, BU's leader in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks, has put together some monster games this season. She owns seven outings with 20+ points, and 11 games with at least 19 points. McClung, who owns nine double-doubles this season, is averaging 20.2 points over the last five games.
A-10 Defense: Butler has done an excellent job defending A-10 opponents after eight games. The Bulldogs are third in the conference in field goal percentage defense, holding teams to .359 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.
True A-10 Test: Playing at then-unbeaten St. Joe's, BU proved it could compete among the best 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.
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.
In The Classroom: Seven BU players earned a 3.30 GPA or better during the fall semester. As a team, the Bulldogs boast a 3.14 cumulative GPA.
Injury Timeout: Butler has played this entire season without three key players. 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. Bornhorst played in 61 career games with 37 starts, averaging 4.7 points and 5.1 rebounds.
Becca Now Active: Becca Bornhorst, originally thought to be out for the season, may be activated and used in a game soon. Injuries have left Butler with a thin rotation. Bornhorst was recently cleared to participate with the Bulldogs and will dress at Charlotte.
Hannah Consistent: Hannah Douglas has been a consistent scorer, posting between 9 and 13 points 14 times this season. She has scored exactly her season high of 13 points four times this season (Valpo, UIC, Xavier, George Washington) and has three outings with 12 points each. Douglas' career high of 31 points came last year against Wright State. Her emergence slashing to the basket and crashing the offensive glass gives BU a dependable perimeter scorer on the wing.
Lexus Driving Offense: In the last four games she has played, Lexus Murry has 11 assists against two turnovers. She 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. She then added a pair of helpers with no mistakes at George Washington.
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 had posted eight consecutive double-figure scoring games before scoring six at GW.
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.
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.
In The National Rankings: In addition to being fifth in the country in blocks (6.5), BU stands among the nation's best in taking care of the ball. Butler ranks 56th in turnovers per game (15.2) and 61st in assist-turnover ratio (0.93). The Bulldogs are also 85th in the country in assists (14.2). Individually, Daress McClung stands 16th in blocks, 64th in rebounding and 77th in steals.
Up Next: Butler hosts St. Bonaventure Sunday, Feb. 17 for the team's annual Pink Zone game for breast cancer awareness. The game starts at 2 p.m. and is starts a stretch where BU will be at home for three of four games.