January 8, 2005

League-Leading Phoenix Clamps Down on Butler, 59-39

Jan. 8, 2005

Box Score

Despite a valiant defensive effort against the Horizon League's best-shooting team, Butler couldn't convert enough on the offensive end of the court to secure a win over preseason league favorite UW-Green Bay, falling 59-39, Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Senior Cortney Urquhart led three Bulldogs in double figures with 12 points, as Butler drops to 5-8 (0-3 HL), while the Phoenix improves to 12-2 (4-0).

Urquhart's 12 points came on 5-of-10 shooting and the 6-2 center chipped in five rebounds, moving into tenth place on Butler's career list with 579. Classmate Maria Marchesano, getting her second start of the season, added 11 points, while sophomore Ellen Hamilton came off the bench to score 10. Sophomore Ashley Brenden had a game-high nine rebounds.

Those four were the only Bulldogs to score in the contest, as they took 37 of the team's 47 field goal attempts. Butler shot 32 percent for the game, including a 7-of-28 mark in the second half. Butler hit only 4-of-18 attempts from three-point range. The Phoenix hounded the Bulldogs' leading scorer Jackie Closser the entire game, picking her up full-court and limiting her to five attempts from the field. Closser did have a game-high six assists, one shy of her career high.

UW-Green Bay tried to put the game out of reach early, using a 17-3 run that began with 12:36 to play in the first half to turn a 9-9 tie into a 26-12 advantage six minutes later. However, after trading baskets, the Bulldogs would score the final 10 points of the first half to pull within four at the intermission, 28-24.

"I'm proud of the effort tonight, especially in the first half," said coach Beth Couture. "They went up by 14 in the first half and we could have quit, but we didn't and we fought back into the game. I thought we matched their intensity on both ends of the court. They're a great team and when the time came to make big plays and hit big shots, they did.

"We struggled offensively. We got the ball inside instead of just relying on the three like we've done lately, but we couldn't convert our opportunities."

The Phoenix scored 10 of the first 14 points in the second half, but couldn't put the Bulldogs away until freshman Kayla Groh hit treys on consecutive trips down the floor at the 7:59 mark to give the Phoenix a 47-32 lead. UWGB got contributions from a number of sources, overcoming usually poor shooting from the team's four preseason "All-Horizon League" picks (Abby Scharlow, Nicole Soulis, Tiffany Mor and Mary Kulenkamp). The group combined to go just 10-of-31 from the field, as Butler held the Phoenix to 39 percent shooting.

Mor led the Phoenix with 13 points and seven boards and Scharlow added 10. UWGB out-rebounded the Bulldogs, 37-28, and hit 9-of-26 three-pointers.

The Bulldogs, in the midst of losing seven of their last eight, take their last break from Horizon League play to host cross-town rival IUPUI Wednesday (Jan. 12) at 7 p.m. The game, which ends the Bulldogs' three-game homestand, can be heard live on www.butlersports.com.