The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Pink Zone Game: Sunday's contest vs. St. Bonaventure is Butler's annual pink zone game. 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 locally in the fight against the disease. She has served as honorary chairwoman for St. Vincent's Women of Hope, and $2 of every ticket today will go to St. Vincent's. The Bulldogs will show their support by donning pink uniforms and Nike shoes during the game against the Bonnies.
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 (16.6) and blocks (2.6) while standing fourth in rebounds (9.4) and steals (2.5). She also 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 has scored 20 points or more seven times this year and owns nine of Butler's 11 double-doubles this season.
3. Block Party: The Bulldogs are leading the A-10 and currently are tied for fourth 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. New Starting Lineup: Butler shook up its starting lineup this week, placing Liz Stratman in as a starting post player. Startman, who has now made two starts this season, is third on the team in scoring with 11.5 points per game. In her two starts this season the 6-2 Stratman is averaging 11.5 points and 9.0 rebounds.
5. Nice To Meet You: St. Bonaventure is one of nine first-time opponents (7 in the A-10) on this year's schedule. Butler is 2-4 this year against first-time opponents. BU's first-time opponents this year are: Fairfield, Portland State, Charlotte, St. Joseph's, UMass, VCU, George Washington, St. Bonaventure and Richmond. The majority of the new opponents are a result of BU's move to the A-10.
Butler vs. St. Bona: The Bulldogs and Bonnies are meeting for the first time in women's basketball. SBU is the eighth of nine first-time opponents BU will face this season. Butler is 2-5 this year against first-time opponents.
Home Cooking: BU is 7-3 at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season, including a 3-1 mark at home against A-10 opponents. Butler is 39-13 (.750) at home since 2009.
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, has scored in double figures 19 times this season.
Iron Woman: Taylor Schippers has been on the floor nearly every minute recently. The sophomore has played 40 minutes in three of the last four games. She's played all 40 four times this season.
A-10 Defense: Butler has done an excellent job defending A-10 opponents after nine games. The Bulldogs are second in the conference in field goal percentage defense, holding teams to .355 shooting. Butler has held five opponents (Xavier, VCU, UMass, St. Joe's and Charlotte) to worse that 33 percent shooting. VCU, La Salle and Rhode Island each failed to score 50 points against Butler.
Outshot Charlotte: Butler recorded a .440 field goal percentage and actually made one more field goal in the loss at Charlotte. Defensively, BU held Charlotte to .323 shooting, a season low for the 49ers. It was the first time this season Butler has lost when posting a better field goal percentage than its opponent.
Against A-10's Best: Butler has had two of the leading A-10 teams on the ropes on the road. Playing at then-unbeaten St. Joe's, BU led in that game by as many as 12 and held a 46-44 lead with 6:10 to play in the game. SJU would come back to win late. At Charlotte, Butler led 35-26 at one point and had a 49-47 lead with 5:06 left. Charlotte won in the final minutes.
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 hasn't played this season due to surgery and injuries.
Becca Now Active: Becca Bornhorst, originally thought to be out for the season, is now active and may be 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. Bornhorst played in 61 career games with 37 starts, averaging 4.7 points and 5.1 rebounds.
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.
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.
Up Next: Butler will play at Saint Louis Wednesday, Feb. 20 at Saint Louis. The game is day game, starting at 1 p.m. ET. It is also Butler's only bus ride in Atlantic 10 play this season.