Dec. 29, 2008
Indianapolis, Ind. - Four Butler players scored in double figures - including a career-best 23 by Melanie Thornton - and the Bulldogs used a smothering defense that forced a Horizon League season-high 25 steals to post their largest margin of victory in nearly a decade with a dominant 83-40 win over Christian Brothers on Monday (Dec. 29) evening at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Butler never trailed en route to a 43-point victory - the program's biggest win since topping league foe UIC, 87-43, on Feb. 11, 1999 - while improving to 5-6 on the year in closing out the non-conference schedule. The 25 steals, meanwhile, were crucial the Bulldogs holding an overwhelming 42-12 margin in points off turnovers.
The contest remained a close one throughout much of the opening period, as the Bulldogs led by no more than five through the first seven minutes of play and no more than eight at any point in the half. Despite the slow start, Butler took a 34-26 lead into the locker room thanks in large part to a 41.9 percent (13-for-31) effort from the field.
A jumper by Tanaeya Worden just seconds into the second half cut the CBU deficit to six, but it would be the closest the Lady Bucs would get the rest of the way, as a pair of lay-ups by Terra Burns and a jumper by Lade Akande helped Butler push out to a 13-point edge before a 14-0 run - keyed by a pair of three-pointers from Brittany Bowen - put the Bulldogs ahead by 24 at 55-31 with 12:09 to go.
Christian Brothers would trim the difference back down to 17, but an ensuing 15-0 run - powered by 10 points from Thornton - turned the game into a rout at 70-38 with just over five minutes left.
Butler finished the second half by out-shooting the Lady Bucs 55.6 percent (15-of-27) to 29.4 percent (5-of-17). Christian Brothers' 40 points scored was also a season-low for a Bulldog opponent.
In addition to its convincing margin in points off turnovers, the Bulldogs also dominated in points in the paint (42-20), second chance points (18-2) and bench scoring (30-16).
Thornton finished the game with a solid 9-for-13 effort from the field and a 5-for-7 clip from the free throw line to lead all scorers with 23 points while adding six steals and five rebounds to compliment yet another all-around impressive game.
Chloe Hamilton also put together a career performance, notching career-highs with 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting, six rebounds and two steals. Akande added 11 points and a team-high seven boards, Bowen tallied 11 points and four rebounds and Burns chipped in eight points and six steals.
Butler opens up the New Year as well as conference play when it welcomes 2008 Horizon League Tournament Champion Cleveland State to town on Saturday (Jan. 3) for a 2:00 p.m. contest at Hinkle Fieldhouse.