Dec. 10, 2005
Despite a career-high 22 points from junior Jackie Closser, Butler couldn't overcome Ball State's inside offense as the Cardinals used 44 points in the paint to post a 74-66 win Saturday. The contest in Hinkle Fieldhouse was the home opener for the Bulldogs, who started the season with six road games. With the win, Ball State improves to 6-1, while the Bulldogs fall to 2-5.
Senior Raechelle Hampton did most of the damage for Ball State, posting a career-high 21 points. She went 10-of-12 from the field and her six rebounds helped the Cardinals out-board the Bulldogs, 38-23. Ball State shot 52 percent for the game, including 59 percent in the second half.
"We knew coming into this game against a very good offensive Ball State team that we were going to have to play solid defense and finish plays with rebounds," said Butler coach Beth Couture. "Today we didn't do either of those things. Give credit to Ball State. They came in here and were far more aggressive than us. That's very disappointing."
Closser went 6-of-10 from the field Saturday after sitting out Wednesday's contest at Miami (Ohio) with a concussion. She hit four three-pointers and made 6-of-7 free throws. Butler shot 45 percent from the field and 8-of-17 from three-point range.
A jumper by Carla Gheorghe five seconds into the contest gave Butler its only lead of the afternoon at 2-0. An 11-2 run by the Cardinals stretched a three-point lead to 12 at 25-13 with 7:57 remaining in the first half. Butler closed the gap to as few as four before Ball State took a 37-31 lead into the half. Fourteen of Hampton's total came in the opening 20 minutes.
After an Ellen Hamilton three-pointer trimmed the margin to five at 45-40 with 15:07 to play, Ball State responded by scoring 13 of the next 15 points to take a 58-42 advantage with 10:29 remaining. Butler would not go quietly. They trimmed the lead to seven on two occasions. BSU's Krista Stewart collided with Closser under the basket with 2:41 remaining and Stewart was awarded a three-point play that returned the lead to 10 and sealed the victory for the visitors.
Stewart, Tina Bolte and Julie DeMuth each added 13 points for Ball State.
Gheorghe had 14 points for the Bulldogs with Hamilton adding nine.
The Bulldogs take the week off for final exams before returning to action Monday, December 19 against Evansville. The 5:30 p.m. tip at Hinkle Fieldhouse is the first half of a Butler basketball doubleheader with the men's game versus Elon to follow. Free video and audio of both contests is available at www.butlersports.com.