INDIANAPOLIS -- Junior guard Taylor Schippers hit a 3-pointer to bring the game within one point with 1.2 seconds remaining in regulation, but the deficit proved too much to overcome in a 58-55 St. John's victory at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Feb. 5. The BIG EAST loss drops the Bulldogs to 10-12 on the season and 5-6 in conference.
Facing a 31-26 deficit coming out of halftime, the Bulldogs went on a 14-6 run to open the second half, taking a three point lead with 12 minutes remaining. Butler and St. John's went blow-for-blow in the final minutes of game in which the lead changed 12 times and the score was tied eight times. The Red Storm iced the victory with a layup from Aliyyah Handford with one minute remaining.
"It was a great game," Head Coach Beth Couture explained. "Both teams continued to go back and forth. I'm really proud of our team. We played hard and our defense was really good."
After facing foul trouble in the first half, junior center Liz Stratman (13 points, six rebounds, four blocks) exploded in the second half, recording nine of her 13 points and all six of her rebounds in the final 20 minutes of the game.
"I came in the second half with the mindset that I have fresh legs and I'm going to give it everything I have." Stratman said. "I didn't want to let my teammates down."
All nine Bulldogs players scored for Butler, led by Stratman and senior forward Daress McClung, who finished with 11 points, four rebounds, three assists, and four blocks. Schippers also added nine points for Butler, including three 3-pointers in the second half.
The Bulldogs pulled out to an early two-point lead in the first five minutes of the game, led by Stratman, who had four points in the first half despite picking up two fouls in two minutes of gameplay. Junior forward Haley Howard also picked up two quick fouls for Butler, forcing the Bulldogs to play the last 12 minutes of the first half without two of their starters.
"We had to play the first half without a couple of our starters because of foul trouble, but it's fun to coach this group because everyone is playing so hard out there and they play together," Couture added.
The loss was reminiscent of the last Butler – St. John's matchup, in which the Red Storm won with the exact same score of 58-55.
The Bulldogs will continue BIG EAST play on the road at Marquette on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 5 p.m.