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INDIANAPOLIS – The 2013-14 regular season will come to a close on Tuesday night as the Bulldogs travel to D.J. Sokol Arena for an 8:05 p.m. tip against the Creighton Bluejays. Butler is locked in at the No. 6 seed in the upcoming BIG EAST tournament and will face either Creighton or St. John's in the quarterfinals, depending on Tuesday night's outcomes.
Date: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 / 8:05 PM
Location: Omaha, Neb. / D.J. Sokol Arena (2,500)
Live Stats: GoCreighton.com
Series History: Butler leads the all-time series vs. Creighton 1-0
Last Meeting: Butler defeated Creighton 58-52 on Jan. 18
Scouting Creighton (18-11, 12-5 BIG EAST)
The Bluejays are 12-5 in BIG EAST action with an 18-11 overall record after a recent 73-71 loss at Marquette. The setback snapped a four-game winning streak and put the team into a tie with St. John's for second place in the BIG EAST standings.
Creighton has three high-impact players on the roster in Marissa Janning, Sarah Nelson and McKenzie Fujan. Janning leads the BIG EAST in scoring by averaging 18.2 points per game. Nelson nearly averages a double-double pouring in 13 points and eight rebounds per night while Fujan is an all-around threat that also leads the team in steals.
Janning and Nelson are in a tight race for the team lead in assists as Janning holds a slight advantage with 109 compared to 108 from Nelson. All three players have started in all 29 games this season and all average nearly 30 minutes of playing time.
The Bulldogs never trailed in the first-ever meeting as they defeated the Creighton Bluejays by the final score of 58-52 to take a 1-0 lead in the all-time series.
The Bulldogs enjoyed a 34-22 lead at halftime after shooting 52 percent from the floor. The 12 point lead would bloom to 16 points, but the game was not out of reach as Creighton cut the deficit to single digits with 4:39 to play.
McKenzie Fujan hit a 3-point field goal with 3:07 to left that made the contest a one possession game at 46-43. Butler stood up to the challenge by scoring the next six-straight points to give them a 52-43 cushion. The 6-0 run would lead to the 58-52 victory.
Junior center Liz Stratman posted an impressive stat line with 16 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks, three assists and two steals. Other Bulldogs to reach a double figure scoring total included Lexus Murry who poured in 12 points to go along with three assists and guard Taylor Schippers who ended the night with 11 points and six rebounds.
Defense was the key to victory on Saturday as Butler held Creighton to 27 percent shooting (19-68). The 'Dogs outrebounded the 'Jays 43-38 and also won the points in the paint battle 24-18.
Last Time Out
Butler held off a second half rally against Seton Hall on Saturday to secure a 74-72 victory at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The victory over the Pirates gave Butler the season sweep over Seton Hall, but more importantly puts Butler two games ahead of Seton Hall with just one game remaining in the regular season. With the win, Butler secured the sixth seed in the tournament which automatically moves them into the quarterfinals.
The Bulldogs led 34-29 at halftime, but Seton Hall's full-court pressure allowed the Pirates to storm out to a 52-46 lead with 11:01 remaining in regulation. Butler responded with a 21-6 run of their own, led by junior center Liz Stratman. Facing foul trouble, the Pirates responded again, scoring ten points in the final minute of play, but the Bulldogs sank a series of free throws to hang on for the victory.
Stratman led the Bulldogs with a career-high 28 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocks. Butler also received boosts from senior forward Daress McClung who poured in 14 points, five assists, four rebounds, and three blocks. Fellow senior Mandy McDivitt did her part with eight points and four assists.
Junior forward Haley Howard came up big with seven points in each half, ending the game with 14 points and six rebounds. Lexus Murry was also an impact player as she tied her career-high with seven assists.
- Butler will play as the No. 6 seed in the 2014 BIG EAST Basketball Tournament
- Liz Stratman scored a career-high 28 points vs. Seton Hall on Saturday
- Lexus Murry took over the team lead in assists after recording seven vs Seton Hall
- Daress McClung posted 14 points and tied her career-high with six steals vs SHU
- The Bulldogs shot 44.4 percent from the field (24-54) in their win vs. Seton Hall
- Butler held Marissa Janning to eight points on 1-of-12 shooting in the first meeting
- McClung did not play against Creighton on Jan. 18
- Stratman leads the BIG EAST with 70 blocked shots (2.7 per game)
- Stratman moved to 5th all-time at Butler for most blocked shots in a season (70)
- Mandy McDivitt moved to 4th all-time at Butler with 165 career 3-point field goals
#3 Haley Howard, 5-11 Forward, Redshirt Sophomore from Whiteland, Indiana
#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
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 Ranking
Liz Stratman leads the BIG EAST Conference and ranks 24th nationally in blocked shots per game (2.7). She is currently second in the BIG EAST with a 52.8 field goal percentage and 10th in the conference in rebounds, averaging 6.6 per game.
BIG EAST Rankings
Taylor Schippers, Daress McClung and Mandy McDivitt join Stratman as Bulldogs who rank in the top ten of BIG EAST statistical categories. Schippers ranks second with an 82.5 free throw percentage and eighth in 3-point field goal percentage (35.0). McClung is fourth in blocked shots per game (1.2), ninth in scoring (15.2) and ninth in rebounding (6.7). McDivitt is third in minutes played (34.4).
Marissa Janning of Creighton leads the BIG EAST Conference in scoring heading into the final game of the regular season. Janning's 18.2 points per game average is slightly higher than Katherine Plouffe of Marquette (17.9) and Tabatha Richardson-Smith of Seton Hall (17.5). The Bulldogs will impact the final outcome as they face Janning on Tuesday after holding Richardson-Smith to just 14 points on Saturday. Janning will have to player better against Butler than she did in the first meeting as McDivitt and the Bulldogs limited the league's top scorer to just eight points, six of which came from the free throw line. She was 1-for-12 from the field and 0-3 from distance.
Sophomore Lexus Murry has stepped up for Butler during the second half of the season by taking over the point guard role. Murry now ranks seventh in the BIG EAST with a 1.5 assist to turnover ratio. She recently took over the team lead by averaging three assists per game, a number that ranks her 13th in the BIG EAST.
Butler is 2-0 this year when playing on Tuesday night. The team defeated Providence 72-69 on Jan. 28 and most recently recorded a 57-52 win vs. Xavier on Feb. 25.
Double Double Count
Liz Stratman's double-double vs. Seton Hall was her fifth of the season. She recorded her second double-double of the year and her first against a BIG EAST opponent with 16 points and 10 boards vs. Creighton on Jan. 18.
Couture in Conference
Since taking over the women's basketball program, (2002-03) Head Coach Beth Couture has only had one losing record during conference play. The Bulldogs went 6-23 overall during the 2002-03 season, posting a conference record of 3-13. From that point forward, Couture has finished above .500 on eight occasions and at .500 two times.
McDivitt for 3!
Senior Mandy McDivitt has 165 made 3-point field goals in her career placing her fourth overall in the Butler women's basketball record book. McDivitt has a chance to climb into the top three in the category Debbie Benziger (95-98) currently sits in third with 167 career 3-pointers. McDivitt leads the team with 52 made 3-point field goals this season. She was able to reach this plateau by hitting 25 3-point field goals as a freshman, 47 as a sophomore, and 41 as a junior.
Creighton Again or St. John's?
BIG EAST Tournament seedings will come down to the final day of the regular season. Butler will face the No. 3 seed which at this time could either be Creighton or St. John's. Each team heads into the final game of the regular season with a 12-5 conference record. The Red Storm have lost four-straight games, but they swept the season series over Butler winning each game by the final score of 58-55. Butler clearly has to play Creighton again this Tuesday, but they were able to knock off the Bluejays 58-52 earlier in the year at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The 74-72 victory over Seton Hall on Saturday was a huge win for the women's basketball program as it locked up the No. 6 seed for Butler in the upcoming 2014 BIG EAST Women's Basketball Tournament. The 'Dogs will face the No. 3 seed in the quarter-finals which will be played on Sunday, March 9.