December 3, 2008

Long-Range Barrage Helps Bulldogs Sink Evansville, 70-52

Dec. 3, 2008

Box Score

Evansville, Ind. - Melanie Thornton and Lade Akande each notched double-doubles and the Butler perimeter offense jumped for a season-best 10 three-pointers as the Bulldogs rolled to a convincing 70-52 victory over host Evansville on Wednesday (Dec. 3) at Roberts Stadium.

Thornton led the way with 17 points and 12 boards for her third double-double of the season, while Akande chipped in 10 points and 11 rebounds for her first of the year. Meanwhile, after collecting just 19 threes through its first five games of the season, the Bulldogs erupted for a season-high 10 on 47.6 percent shooting from long range (10-for-21) to help boost Butler to its second win of the year.

Butler got out to a quick start, as Akande converted a jumper on its first possession before Brittany Bowen netted a lay-up off a Tara Miller steal to give the Bulldogs a 4-0 lead barely over a minute into the game.

Evansville would respond with a run of their own, netting seven-straight points to take what would be its largest margin of the night at 7-4 less than four minutes in.

An ensuing 10-0 run by the Bulldogs, however, swung the game back around in Butler's favor. After Akande sank a lay-up to trim the deficit to one, Candace Jones got the long range offense going with what would be the first of many threes on the night. Terra Burns followed with a jumper of her own before Thornton converted a lay-in and bonus free throw to give the Bulldogs a 14-7 margin.

The Purple Aces battled back to tie the game twice over the next five minutes, but consecutive threes by Susan Lester, Jones and Devin Brierly pushed the Bulldogs back out to a seven-point edge at 29-22 before heading into the break leading 34-27.

Brierly picked up right where Butler left off in the first, as the freshman guard buried a three on the Bulldogs' first possession of the period to increase the lead to 10.

The inside game would take over from there, as Akande laid one in for a 39-27 lead before four field goals by Thornton over a two-and-a-half minute span gave the Bulldogs a 48-32 advantage with 13:31 to go in the game.

Evansville managed to cut the Bulldog advantage to six thanks to back-to-back lay-ups by Shannon Novosel and a three-pointer from Ashlee Barrett, but three-straight treys by Butler - including back-to-back hits from Jones and another by Brierly - built the difference back up to 12 at 58-46 with less than five minutes to go.

The Purple Aces would try to claw their way back into the contest by sending the Bulldogs to the line in the final three minutes, but they could get no closer than nine the rest of the way, as Butler converted 9-of-12 shots from the line to increase the gap to 15 before another triple from Brierly put the final nail in the coffin.

Thornton went 7-for-12 from the field and 3-for-4 from the free throw line to finish one point shy of her career-best scoring output. Her 12 rebounds, meanwhile, gave her a team-high total for the sixth time in as many games.

Akande, meanwhile, tied her career-best with nine defensive boards while posting her 15th career double-double.

Brierly finished the game with a 4-for-5 effort from beyond the arc for 13 points, while Jones added a 4-for-7 effort for 13 points of her own. Candyce Brown led the way with five assists.

Butler returns home to Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday (Dec. 6) when it welcomes Coastal Carolina to town for a 2:00 p.m. game.