Chicago - Susan Lester notched her fourth double-double of the season, Lade Akande finished just one rebound shy of her second and the Bulldogs scrapped their way to a hard-fought 61-50 victory at Loyola on Thursday (Jan. 10) evening at the Joseph J. Gentile Center.
The Bulldogs had to hold off an early second-half rally attempt by the Ramblers to improve to 11-2 on the year and 1-1 in the Horizon League. Loyola, meanwhile, falls to 2-12 on the season and 0-3 in league play.
Butler held a slim advantage throughout the opening 10 minutes, as the Ramblers kept their deficit within four points before taking a two-point lead at 14-12 with 10:19 remaining in the period on back-to-back jumpers by Brittany Boeke.
Lester took over the game over the next three minutes, however, keying a 17-5 Bulldog run with all 10 of her first-half points on a pair of lay-ups, a three-pointer and three-straight makes from the line to put Butler in front 27-19.
A jumper by Candyce Brown on the ensuing Butler possession gave the Bulldogs a 10-point margin, their largest of the period, before heading into the locker room with a 33-24 lead.
Loyola would steadily chip away at the Butler lead in the opening minutes, riding a 14-5 scoring run to bring the game back to even at 44-44 with less than 10 minutes remaining.
The Butler defense would step up down the stretch, however, holding the Ramblers to just four points in the final eight minutes while getting six points from Candace Jones and four from Lester to put the game away.
Lester finished with a game-high 16 points on 4-for-6 shooting from the field and a 6-of-7 mark from the line while adding 10 rebounds. Akande chipped in 15 points, nine boards and a season-high four picks, while Jones posted 13 points and a team-best five assists.
Butler wraps up its four-game road swing on Saturday (Jan. 12) when it takes on UIC beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET at the UIC Pavilion.