November 18, 2008

Second-Half Outburst Drives Butler Past IPFW, 72-56

Nov. 18, 2008

Box Score

Fort Wayne, Ind. - Lade Akande led all scorers with 18 points, Susan Lester and Melanie Thornton each notched double-doubles and the Bulldogs used an efficient second-half scoring surge en route to a convincing 72-56 victory at IPFW on Tuesday (Nov. 18) evening at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center.

Butler shot 48.5 percent from the field in the second period - including a 55.6 percent effort from beyond the arc - to fend off the host Mastodons for its first win of the season.

Butler used a strong inside game to build up as much as an 11-point lead in the opening period, as the Bulldogs hit all 11 of their field goals from inside the arc while holding a 22-to-16 advantage on the boards.

Three-straight jumpers by Brittany Bowen, Akande and Thornton pushed the Bulldogs out to a six-point lead at 11:41 of the first before a jumper and bonus free throw by Lester and back-to-back lay-ups by Akande and Bowen extended the advantage to nine at 19-10 with less than 10 minutes to go in the frame.

IPFW would trim the difference to five on two-straight baskets, but a lay-in by Akande and a jumper and pair of makes from the charity stripe by Thornton gave Butler its largest lead of the half at 25-14 with 3:46 to play.

A three-pointer and a lay-up in the final seconds by IPFW cut the Butler lead down to six heading into the break.

A quick five points at the start of the second would trim the margin to one at 25-24 just a minute and a half into the period, but it would be as close as the Mastodons would get, as Butler nearly doubled its scoring total from the first half with 47 second-period points.

Butler would steadily increase its lead over the next 10 minutes, as three lay-ups by Akande, two by Thornton and a trey by Bowen helped extend the Bulldogs' lead to 12 at 52-40.

An ensuing long-range surge by Butler helped put the final nails in the Mastodons' coffin, as Devin Brierly hit a pair of threes around another triple from Bowen in three-straight possessions to blow the game open at 61-42. IPFW would knock the lead down to 12 with less than a minute remaining, but the effort would be too little too late.

Butler shot 42.9 percent from the field (27-for-63) while hitting five of 15 from three-point range. After yielding seven turnovers in the opening period, the Bulldogs settled down and coughed up just two in the second to finish, including one on a tie-up.

Akande finished with a game-high 18 points on 9-for-12 shooting from the field and added eight rebounds. Lester tallied her first double-double of the year and the 19th of her career with 14 points and 11 boards, while Thornton notched her first career double-double with 12 points and a career-best 13 rebounds. Brierly also finished in double-digits with 10 points and added a game-high five assists.

Eva Ivanova led the Mastodons with 13 points, while Tina Moen added 10 points and nine rebounds.

Butler returns to action on Friday (Nov. 21) when it welcomes Dayton to Hinkle Fieldhouse for the Bulldogs' home opener beginning at 7:00 p.m.