March 7, 2007
Indianapolis, Ind. - Susan Lester tallied her eighth double-double of the year and three other players finished in double-figures as No. 3 seed Butler (15-14) continued its dominance of Youngstown State this season with a 77-60 rout of the No. 6 Penguins (7-21) in the Horizon League Championship quarterfinals on Wednesday (March 7) at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
With the win, the Bulldogs head to Green Bay, Wis. on Friday (March 9) to face No. 2 seed UIC, which defeated Cleveland State in its quarterfinal game. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m. EST at the Phoenix Sports Center.
The Bulldogs never trailed for the third-straight time against the Penguins this season, outscoring Youngstown State by an average of over 18 points per game in three contests.
For the second night in a row, the Bulldogs were devastating from beyond the arc, going 12-of-25 from three for 48 percent efficiency.
Butler went to work right away against the Penguins out of the gates, running out to a 15-2 advantage in the first six minutes thanks to six quick points from Lade Akande and three pointers from Jackie Closser and Lester.
Youngstown State rallied to cut the lead to three at 24-21 with just over five minutes to play in the period, but the Bulldogs closed the half on an offensive tear with a 15-4 run to take a 14 point lead into the locker room. Cassie Freeman netted a pair of treys in the stretch, while Closser tallied one.
The Bulldogs returned to the floor and opened-up with the same long-distance barrage, as Ellen Hamilton and Closser each netted threes to push the Butler lead out to 18 at 45-27.
Closser's fourth trey of the night, coming with just under 10 minutes remaining, put the Bulldogs up by their biggest margin at 62-39, while a stingy defensive effort would keep Butler up big throughout the remainder of the contest, with YSU coming no closer than 14 points in the final minutes.
Lester was a force to be reckoned with in the first half, scoring eight of her 15 points and six of her 10 rebounds in the opening frame before getting into foul trouble. Her eight double-doubles are the second most in the Horizon League this season.
Closser added 15 points of her own, going 5-of-12 from the field and 4-of-9 for three, while Akande added 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting and five rebounds. Freeman returned to her strong form on offense, finishing with 11 points off the bench with a pair of three-pointers and a 3-of-4 clip from the free throw line.
Velissa Vaughn paced all scorers with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Ashley Pendleton chipped in 14 points.
YSU struggled offensively all night long, shooting 35.5 percent from the field and a Butler opponent-low 11.1 percent (1-of-9) from three-point.