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INDIANAPOLIS – The top team in the BIG EAST standings will visit Hinkle Fieldhouse on Wednesday night as the Bulldogs host St. John's at 7 p.m. The Red Storm have won eight-straight games in conference play, but the Bulldogs will be looking to build their own streak after falling by just three points at St. John's on Jan. 15.
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 / 7:00 PM
Location: Indianapolis, Ind. / Hinkle Fieldhouse (10,000)
Live Stats: ButlerSports.com
Series History: St. John's leads the all-time series 1-0
Last Meeting: St. John's defeated Butler 58-55 on Jan. 15
Scouting St. John's (16-5, 9-1 BIG EAST)
St. John's is the top team in the BIG EAST standings with a conference record of 9-1. The team ran through the first part of the BIG EAST schedule by defeating every team but Xavier as the Musketeers put a blemish on the record with a 70-65 win over STJ at the Cintas Center.
The Red Storm carry a 6-3 road record into Wednesday night which includes a 4-1 mark in conference play. They are averaging 67.7 points per game due to their high overall team field goal percentage (44.7).
3-point field goals will be hard to come by as the Red Storm close out on shooters better than anyone else in the conference. STJ holds the opposition to just 25 percent from behind the arc, while hitting 35.3 percent of their 3-point field goals.
The top three scorers on the team for St. John's shoot over 43 percent from the field. Aliyyah Handford is the leading scorer heading into Wednesday as she comes to Indianapolis averaging 16.1 points per game. Danaejah Grant is averaging 11.3 points per game and Briana Brown is third on the team at 9.7 ppg. All three of the players listed above reached a double figure scoring total vs. Butler in the first matchup of the season.
The Bulldogs erased an 18-point halftime deficit at St. John's in the first-ever meeting, but they were unable to pull off the comeback win as the Red Storm held on for a 58-55 victory to take a 1-0 lead in the all-time series.
St. John's ended the first half on an 18-2 run to build their halftime lead, but the Bulldogs got back into the game after a 16-0 run which got the team within three points at 39-36. 3-point field goals sparked the run as Haley Howard, Taylor Schippers and Mandy McDivitt all hit from distance.
The scoring trio of Schippers, Stratman and Howard all performed well down the stretch as Schippers led all players with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Stratman went for 15 points and five rebounds vs. the Red Storm and Howard was active with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting.
Butler's rebound leader was senior Mandy McDivitt who hauled down a career-high 13 rebounds. It was a quality all-around game for McDivitt who ended the day with seven points, three steals and two assists.
Last Time Out
The Bulldogs improved to 5-5 in BIG EAST action with a 68-54 road win at Xavier on Saturday. The Bulldogs went on a 14-3 at the start of the second half to grab the momentum which led them to the win.
Daress McClung scored a game-high 18 points and Liz Stratman posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds in the win over Xavier. Butler had four players reach a double figure scoring total as Haley Howard added 15 while Mandy McDivitt chipped in with 12.
Howard was clutch from the free throw line at the end of the contest, finishing the game 8-of-11 from the charity stripe. McDivitt was dialed in from long range hitting four 3-point field goals.
Taylor Schippers scored all six of her points in the second half. The junior found ways to impact the game in different ways as she recorded eight rebounds and four assists. Butler's assist leader was point guard Lexus Murry who dished out seven passes that led to scores.
Butler was the better team inside on Saturday night as they outscored their opponent 24-14 in the paint. Stratman made life difficult for her matchup as she led all players with four blocks.
- Lexus Murry set multiple career-highs vs. Xavier with six boards and seven assists
- Liz Stratman posted a double-double at Xavier with 11 points and 11 rebounds
- Daress McClung led the team in scoring with 18 points off the bench
- Haley Howard hit a career-high eight free throw attempts (8-11) at Xavier
- Mandy McDivitt hit a team-high four 3-point field goals at Xavier
- Liz Stratman leads the BIG EAST with 46 blocked shots (2.4 per game)
- St. John's is receiving votes in the most recent AP Poll (Feb. 3)
- The Bulldogs have used eight different starting lineups this year
- Eight different players have led Butler in scoring this season
- Mandy McDivitt ranks 5th all-time at Butler with 156 career 3-point field goals
#1 Taylor Schippers, 5-8 Guard, Junior from Houston, Texas
#5 Liz Stratman, 6-2 Center, Junior from New Palestine, Indiana
#10 Mandy McDivitt, 5-8 Guard, Senior from Connersville, Indiana
#21 Daress McClung, 6-0 Forward, Senior from Indianapolis, Indiana
#23 Lexus Murry, 5-7 Guard, Sophomore from Indianapolis, Indiana
BIG EAST Preseason Poll
1) DePaul (8) - 79 Points
2) Creighton (2) - 67 Points
3) St. John's - 62 Points
4) Villanova - 56 Points
5) Marquette - 55 Points
6) Georgetown - 36 Points
7) Butler - 31 Points
8) Providence - 25 Points
9) Xavier - 20 Points
10) Seton Hall - 19 Points
Preseason All-BIG EAST Team
Daress McClung, Butler, G/F, Sr., 6-0, Indianapolis, Ind.
Marissa Janning, Creighton, G, So., 5-8, Watertown, Minn.
Sarah Nelson, Creighton, F, Sr., 6-0, Omaha, Neb.
Jasmine Penny, DePaul, F, Sr., 6-1, Logansport, Ind.
Andrea White, Georgetown, F, 6-0, Sr., Lancaster, Va.
Katherine Plouffe, Marquette, F, Sr., 6-3, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Tori Rule, Providence, Jr., G, 5-7, Minneapolis, Minn.
Aliyyah Handford, St. John's, G, So., 5-9, Newark, N.J.
Ka-Deidre Simmons, Seton Hall, G, R-Jr., 5-8, Newark, N.J.
Caroline Coyer, Villanova, G, So., 5-10, Oak Hill, Va.
3 Years... 3 Conferences
The Butler Bulldogs were part of the Horizon League for 11 years before making the switch to the Atlantic 10 in 2012-13. The conference change to the A-10 was only the beginning as Butler joined the BIG EAST conference at the start of the 2013-14 season.
Stratman's National Rankings
Liz Stratman leads the BIG EAST Conference and ranks 32nd nationally in blocked shots per game (2.4). The junior center is currently second in the conference and 24th in the nation with a 53.8 field goal percentage.
Butler hit a season-high 16 3-point field goals at Georgetown. The offensive explosion started in the first half when Mandy McDivitt hit five of her season-high six 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes. Blaire Langlois followed up with five triples while Taylor Schippers and Ashton Feldhaus each added two. Haley Howard was the fifth player to record a three vs. the Hoyas as Butler finished the game 16-for-35 (45%).
Butler has made two or more 3-point field goals in every game this season. The group averages six made 3-point field goals per game and their season-low total of two 3-pointers came in the 23 point blowout win over Eastern Washington.
BIG EAST Leaders
St. John's leads the BIG EAST in 3-point field goal percentage (35.3) and in 3-point field goal defense (25.0).
Butler improved their team free throw percentage recently by connecting on 35 of their last 42 free throw attempts (83.3%). They currently rank third in the BIG EAST Conference (71.4) while their Wednesday night opponent, St. John's, is last (65.5).
70 Points Or Less
Butler's defensive strategy against St. John's in the first meeting was on point as the Bulldogs held the Red Storm to just 58 points, nearly 10 points below their season average. Keeping that style and pace against St. John's on Wednesday night will be important as the Bulldogs are 0-6 when allowing 70 points or more in a game, but they are 6-1 when allowing 60 points or less. The Red Storm scored 69 points in their last road game. Their season-high scoring total away from home is 96 when they went to DePaul to defeat the Blue Demons by 10 points.
McDivitt for 3!
Senior Mandy McDivitt has moved into fifth place all-time in the Butler women's basketball record book with 156 career 3-point field goals. McDivitt recorded 25 3-point field goals as a freshman, 47 as a sophomore, and 41 as a junior. She most recently hit five 3-point field goals vs. Providence moving her current season 3-point total to 43.
Butler will travel to Marquette this weekend for a 5 p.m. tip vs. the Golden Eagles on Saturday afternoon.