January 28, 2006

Backcourt Propels Butler to 71-67 Win Over Wright State

Jan. 28, 2006

Box Score

It was déjà vu all over again for Butler's junior backcourt of Jackie Closser and Ellen Hamilton, as the duo led the Bulldogs to a 71-67 win over Wright State Saturday afternoon in Hinkle Fieldhouse. The guards combined for 45 points Saturday after hitting for 41 in the Bulldogs' lopsided win against the Raiders 14 days ago. With the win, Butler improves to 10-9 overall and 5-3 in Horizon League play. WSU falls to 8-12 (4-6).

Closser had a career-high 25 points that included 6-of-8 accuracy from behind the arc. She added three assists, playing all 40 minutes. Hamilton had 20 points, shooting 7-of-10 from the field. The 5-10 guard had four assists against no turnovers.

"We did a great job matching Wright State's physical play," said Butler coach Beth Couture. "I thought we showed a lot of patience on offense against their zone and executed well. This is a nice win for us. Wright State is a good team and came in here and played hard."

Butler's lead extended to as many as 14 after a Closser lay-up with 16:36 to play. With the Bulldogs leading 47-33 at that point, Wright State uncorked a 20-5 run that gave the visitors their first and only lead at 53-52 with 6:46 to play. After a Hamilton trey, WSU responded with a Whitney Lewis lay-up to knot the score at 55. Two Closser three-pointers then highlighted a 10-0 Butler run that put the Bulldogs up 65-55 with three minutes to play.

Wright State would not go quietly, clawing back to within one at 68-67 after a Lewis lay-up with 16 seconds to play. Closser took a hard foul and calmly sank two free throws for a three-point advantage. On the ensuing possession, the Bulldogs forced the Raiders' Tyanda Hammock into a contested three-point attempt and corralled the rebound to seal the win.

Butler shot 44 percent in the contest, including 9-of-18 from behind the arc. The Bulldogs committed just 11 turnovers against the Raiders' pressure defense. Sophomore Cassie Freeman had 10 points, a career-high seven assists and five boards for the Bulldogs, including six of the Bulldogs' first nine points as the home team raced out to an early 19-10 advantage. Wright State responded with 6-5 Alicia Avery, who came off the bench to score 13 of her 15 points in the first half. Butler did a better job of packing its zone in around her in the second half, limiting Avery to just two shot attempts.

Stephanie Boeke had seven rebounds for Butler, while freshman Lade Akande posted 10 points and six boards. The Raiders enjoyed a 40-27 rebounding edge and shot 49 percent for the field, but hit only 1-of-12 from three-point range. Butler has allowed just six three-pointers total in its last three games.

Lewis led the Raiders with 18 points. Avery finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Bulldogs limited preseason "All-Horizon League" selection Brittney Whiteside to four points on 1-of-7 shooting. In two games against Butler this season, Whiteside totaled just 13 points on 5-of-22 shooting.

The Bulldogs take to the road for its most challenging road stretch of league play. Butler plays at Youngstown State (Thursday, 7 p.m.), Cleveland State (Saturday, 2 p.m.) and Detroit (Feb. 6, 7 p.m.) in a grueling five-day stretch. Live video of all three contests will be available free at both www.butlersports.com and www.horizonleague.com.