2012-13 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Tourney Time: Butler is making its fourth WNIT appearance in five years, and its sixth all-time. The Bulldogs won a first-round game at Duquesne in 2009 before falling at Marquette and lost in the first round in both 2010 (Illinois State) and 2011 (Wisconsin). Butler owns a 3-6 all-time record in the WNIT.
2. Winning Conference Record: With an 8-6 mark, Butler posted a winning conference record for the seventh time in eight years. Beside last year, BU had a winning record in conference play for six straight seasons. That includes back-to-back seasons of 14-4 records in the Horizon League (2009, 2010).
3. What If We Win?: Should Butler advance past MAC regular season champion Toledo, the Bulldogs would meet the winner of Youngstown State and Indiana State. The site of the game is yet to be determined, but the Dawgs would be familiar with either opponent. Butler beat ISU 56-45 in Hinkle Fieldhouse in December and used to be a league foe of YSU. The Bulldogs have won 13 straight against Youngstown State dating back to 2006.
4. 'Do-It-All' Daress: Daress McClung, a second team All-Atlantic 10 honoree, has filled the stat sheet almost on a nightly basis and is among the A-10 leaders in many categories. The 6-0 junior ranks second in the A-10 in points (16.3) and third in blocks (2.4) while standing fifth in rebounds (9.1) and steals (2.3). McClung, an Indianapolis native who transferred to Butler from Cincinnati, has scored 20 points or more eight times this year and owns 10 of Butler's 12 double-doubles this season. She owns seven outings with 4+ blocks and seven games with 4+ steals. She blocked seven shots at La Salle in January.
5. Block Party: The Bulldogs are leading the A-10 and currently rank fifth in the country in blocked shots with 5.9 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 (2.4), Liz Stratman averages 2.7 swats per game (2.1 blocks in A-10 play to rank fifth in league). Stratman had four blocks or more six different times this season.
Butler vs. Toledo: The Bulldogs and Rockets met three times in the late 1980s, with UT winning all three contests. The closest was a 70-68 Toledo win in overtime in 1987.
BU vs. MAC Teams: Butler is 7-3 against MAC schools dating back to 2007. All three of those losses are to Bowling Green.
Daress' Big Games: Daress McClung, BU's leader in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks, has put together some monster games this season. She owns eight outings with 20+ points, and 12 games with at least 19 points. McClung, who has 10 double-doubles this season, has scored in double figures 25 times this season.
Bucking Young Trends: Butler has seven freshmen and sophomores on its team. Conventional wisdom says such a young team shouldn't win close games or on the road. BU has bucked that trend, posting eight wins away from Hinkle. In tight games, the Bulldogs are 5-1 in contests decided by five points or less.
Player of the Week Twice: Daress McClung was 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.
Adding Stratman: Butler is 13-8 since Liz Stratman became eligible after final exams in December. The 6-2 sophomore has added scoring (11.1), rebounding (6.0) and shot blocking (2.7) to the lineup. She came off the bench in 13 of her first 14 games before permanently moving into the starting lineup. She has scored in double figures 15 times this year, including two outings with a season-high 16 points.
League Tournament: Butler, the No. 6 seed, was upset by No. 11 seed Saint Louis 44-41 on March 8. BU led by 10 early in the second half in what was a defensive contest. SLU, which scored just 10 points in the first half, took the lead with 5:16 on the clock and held off the Bulldogs.
Steering The Schipp: Butler's point guard is Taylor Schippers, a transfer from Oklahoma State. The Texas native has had some big games this year, including a 27-point effort at St. Mary's in November. Schippers, who has range out to 25 feet, has six games with three or more 3-pointers. In league play, she had two games with 19 points (UMass, Temple) and scored 17 at Charlotte. Butler also likes to use her off the ball at the '2,' with Lexus Murry running the point position.
Taylor's 10: Taylor Schippers had 10 assists at Saint Louis, her second game with 10 assists this season. She also passed 10 helpers at UIC in January. Schippers, who scored 12.9 points per game, is seventh in the A-10 with 4.0 assists per game.
Couture vs. Cullop: Beth Couture and Tricia Cullop faced each other several times when Cullop was at Evansville. The two coaches split six meetings, with the last game an 81-75 Butler victory at Hinkle Fieldhouse in December 2007. After that season, Cullop left UE for Toledo.
Taylor Raises Up: Taylor Schippers scored 16 points in the second half of Butler's win over Temple, finishing the night with 19. She shot 5-for-9 and made a pair of treys to lift the Dawgs to the win. A pair of 3-pointers that bookended the halftime buzzer lifted a 25-24 Butler lead to 31-24 early in the second half. The 19 points was her highest game since she also scored 19 at Massachusetts.
Stats To Watch: One area where Butler has a considerable advantage is in free throw shooting. The Bulldogs are nearly 7 percent better than the Rockets at the stripe. Toledo's advantage may be on the glass, where the Rockets are +5.2 on the season. Butler is -5.1 in rebounding margin this year.
Mandy Makes 3s: Mandy McDivitt has made 132 career field goals, 109 of them 3-pointers. Her 109 treys ranks her eighth on Butler's all-time career list for 3-pointers made. Twice last season, McDivitt made six 3-pointers in a game.
Against A-10's Best: Butler had two of the leading A-10 teams on the ropes on the road. Playing at league tournament champion St. Joseph's, BU led 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.
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 has served as 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 (5.9), BU stands among the nation's best in passing and protecting the ball. Butler ranks 84th in turnovers per game (15.5) and 79th in assist-turnover ratio (0.94). The Bulldogs are also 79th in the country in assists (14.0). Defensively, BU stands 86th in field goal percentage defense (.371), as the Dawgs have held 11 opponents to less than .340 shooting. Individually, Daress McClung stands 23rd in blocks, 80th in rebounding and 86th in scoring.
Got 20 On It: Butler needs three wins for its fifth 20-win season over the last six years. Butler had won 20 games in each of the past four seasons before last season. The Bulldogs went 20-14 in 2010-11 and finished second in the Horizon League. The Bulldogs were 23-10 in 2009-10, the team's most wins since 1998. BU was 20-10 in 2007-08 and followed that with a 20-12 season in 2008-09. Butler was 96-62 during the five seasons before this year.
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 both Michigan State and Illinois. BU led by 22 at one point and had a 40-25 lead before hanging on in the final minute.
Notable Sweeps: Butler will have bragging rights within Indiana borders and against former league foes for the next year. BU went 5-0 against Indiana schools and 3-0 against Horizon League schools. It marks the second time Butler has swept Indiana schools under Beth Couture. In 2009-10, BU went 6-0 against in-state opponents.
Up Next: Butler will play the winner of Indiana State and Youngstown State if it defeats Toledo.