Jan. 3, 2009
Indianapolis, Ind. - Butler carried its recent defensive dominance into the first contest of the Horizon League season, as the Bulldogs held visiting Cleveland State to their second-lowest opponent scoring total en route to a 55-46 victory over the Vikings at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday (Jan. 3) afternoon.
Lade Akande led the way with 14 points while Brittany Bowen chipped in 11 as Butler (6-6, 1-0 Horizon League) out-shot the Vikings (6-7, 0-1 HL) 47.6 percent to 31.0 percent in the second half to come away with the win.
Cleveland State had the hot shooting touch in the early going, as the Vikings jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the first five minutes and continued to maintain a four-point margin after Kailey Klein drained back-to-back threes for a 22-18 lead with less than five minutes to go in the opening period.
A triple by Devin Brierly cut the deficit to one with 3:59 to go before back-to-back jumpers by Akande and Terre Burns and a pair of free throws by Bowen gave the Bulldogs a three-point edge heading into the locker room.
After shooting just 38 percent from the field and going just 1-for-6 from three-point range in the first half, the Bulldogs turned to their inside game for the remainder of the game, as all 10 Butler field goals came from inside the arc.
Jumpers by Candyce Brown and Burns in the first two minutes pushed the Bulldog lead out to seven before a 10-2 Butler run extended the margin to 11 at 45-34 with 12:04 to go.
A lay-up by Bowen with 9:08 remaining gave the Bulldogs their largest lead of the night at 49-36, but it would be the last Butler field goal the rest of the way. Fortunately, the Bulldog defense continued its dominance, holding the Vikings to just 10 points the rest of the way while going 6-for-8 from the free throw line to come away with the nine-point decision.
Butler finished with a 26-18 margin on points in the paint and had a decisive 11-3 advantage in points off the bench.
Akande finished with a 7-for-12 effort from the field for at team-high 14 points, while Bowen used a 9-of-10 mark from the free throw line to help her to 11 points. Burns and Brown each notched eight points apiece, while Melanie Thornton chipped in a game-high 10 rebounds.
Klein's 27 points led all scorers and accounted for nearly 59 percent of the Vikings total offense.
Butler returns to action on Monday (Jan. 5) when it concludes its four-game homestand against Youngstown State beginning at 7:00 p.m.