Butler Defense Smothers Penguins As Bulldogs Roll To 63-48 Win

Indianapolis, Ind. - Susan Lester tallied her sixth double-double of the year with 13 points and 11 boards, Lade Akande notched a game-high 18 points and the Bulldogs, who had been in need of a strong defensive performance, shut down visiting Youngstown State in claiming a 63-48 victory over the Penguins on Saturday (Feb. 2) afternoon.

Butler, which entered Saturday's contest leading the league by allowing only 61.1 points per game, held the Penguins to its lowest opponent total since limiting Oakland City to 46 on Dec. 3. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs held a commanding 42-28 edge in points in the paint, including a 20-8 mark in the first half alone, while turning 21 YSU turnovers in 20 points.

Butler had to play catch-up in the early going, as Youngstown State scored the first five points of the game and held an 8-4 advantage with 14:30 to go into the period.

The Bulldogs would take over from there, riding a staggering 16-2 run, keyed by eight points from Akande and four from Azjah Bass, to take a 20-10 lead with just over six minutes remaining.

Lay-ups by Lester, Brittany Bowen and Cassie Freeman helped push the Bulldogs' lead out to 11 before heading into the locker room with a nine-point cushion at 26-17.

A jumper by Lester and a pair of shots by Akande extended the Butler margin to 13 just two minutes into the second period, but back-to-back three-pointers by Velissa Vaughn but the YSU deficit to five at 32-27 just two minutes later.

Butler's perimeter offense had been nonexistent up until that point, with the Bulldogs going 0-for-9 in the first and 0-for-2 in the early part of the second before Freeman broke the skid with a trey that put the Bulldogs back up by 10 (39-29) with 14:37 to go. Lester followed the act less than a minute later, draining a three to push the Butler advantage to 13.

An ensuing 9-4 surge put the Bulldogs up by 18 with less than 10 minutes remaining and put the game out of reach.

The win halts a brief two-game slide for the Bulldogs, who improve to 14-6 on the year and 4-5 in Horizon League play. YSU, meanwhile, drops to 10-10 overall and 5-4 in the league.

Akande led all scorers with 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting and added nine rebounds, her eighth game with nine or more boards. Lester finished with her sixth double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Bass and Bowen finished with 10 points a piece, while Tara Miller chipped in a team-high four assists and four steals.

The Bulldogs return to action on Thursday (Feb. 7) when they host UIC beginning at 7:00 p.m.