Dec. 31, 2005
THE TIP: Butler (5-5) continues Horizon League play with a New Year's Eve trip to face UW-Milwaukee (5-6). The Bulldogs have won three straight games, including their league opener Thursday against Youngstown State. Both teams enter the match-up with a 1-0 league mark. Free video and audio of the 2 p.m. (CST) tip is available live at www.butlersports.com.
THE SERIES: This is the 24th meeting between the Bulldogs and UW-Milwaukee. UWM owns a 13-10 advantage in the series, including an 8-3 edge in Milwaukee. The Panthers swept the season series last year after the teams split games during the 2003-04 season. The teams first met March 11, 1982 in the MAIAW Regional Tournament in Chicago.
LEAGUE DISTINCTION: Butler freshman Lade Akande led the Bulldogs to a pair of come-from-behind wins last week, earning Horizon League "Player of the Week" honors for her efforts, the league office announced Tuesday (Dec. 27). Akande averaged 16.5 points and 9.5 rebounds as the Bulldogs downed Evansville and UMBC at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
QUICK START: Butler used 63-percent first-half shooting to take a 46-22 halftime lead and cruise to a 78-55 win over Youngstown State Thursday in the Horizon League opener for both teams. That's the best mark for shooting in a half this season, bettering the team's previous mark of 55 percent in the first half of the team's win over Central Florida Nov. 25.
SHOOTER'S TOUCH: Junior Jackie Closser went a perfect 5-of-5 from the field in the first half against Youngstown State and finished the contest with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Her scoring output tied for the team lead.
PICKING THE PENGUINS: Freshman Lade Akande had a career-high five steals against Youngstown State Thursday to go along with 17 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Her 17 points and eight boards tied for the team high. Akande went 7-of-10 from the field.
15-FOOT RANGE: Butler shot a season-best 96 percent from the free throw line Dec. 22 against UMBC, going 21-of-22 on the night. The Bulldogs followed that up with 80-percent (20-25) accuracy against Youngstown State. Butler continues to lead the league with a .747 mark from the charity stripe.
MORE CHARITY: While Jackie Closser (.914) and Candace Jones (.913) rank 1-2 in free throw shooting among Horizon League players, the longest current streak of made free throws belongs to Stephanie Boeke at 13. She hasn't missed in more than a month (1-2 against Saint Mary's Nov. 26).
BOEKE DOES IT ALL: Despite scoring just four points Thursday against Youngstown State, Stephanie Boeke filled up the statsheet. She led the team with five assists and added eight rebounds, which tied Lade Akande for the team-lead. Boeke is second on the team and sixth in the conference at 5.7 rebounds per game.
OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION: Butler is scoring 71 points per game this season, which is second in the league. Four Butler players average double figures and the quartet occupies four of the top 13 spots on the league charts.
CLEANING THE GLASS: Freshman Lade Akande is tied for the league lead in rebounding, averaging 8.0 caroms per contest. She's not even letting some shots get to the rim, pacing the Horizon League at 2.0 blocks per game.
`CLOSS' TO THE TOP: In addition to being fifth in the Horizon League in scoring (14.4), junior Jackie Closser leads the Horizon League in three-pointers made (2.9 per game), free throw percentage (.914) and assist/turnover ratio (2.15). If that weren't enough, Closser is second in assists (4.8) and seventh in three-point percentage (.419).
ENOUGH ABOUT THE OFFENSE: Butler also clamped down on defense against Youngstown State, allowing the Penguins just 55 points. That's a season-low for a Butler opponent. Butler also limited the Penguins to opponent lows in field goals (21), field goal shooting (.318), three-pointers (one) and three-point accuracy (.071).
THREE'S COMPANY: Behind 2-of-4 shooting from behind the arc Thursday, Butler sharpshooter Ellen Hamilton has moved back into the Horizon League lead with a .481 mark from behind the arc. Her 2.5 treys per game are third in the circuit. Hamilton has hit at least one three-pointer in 17 straight games dating back to last season.
HITTING THE TRI-FECTA: Butler's 7.8 three-pointers per game and .431 percentage both lead the Horizon League. The Bulldogs are actually shooting better from behind the arc (.431) than they are inside of it (.425). Junior Jackie Closser moved into a tie for third on Butler's career treys list with classmate Ellen Hamilton on her heels.
Career three-pointers made
1. 167, Debbie Benziger (1995-98)
2. 142, Maria Marchesano (2002-05)
3. 128, Jackie Closser (2004-present)
3. 128, Jennifer Marlow (1996-99)
5. 123, Ellen Hamilton (2004-present)
BENCH WORK: Led by a season-high nine points from sophomore Cassie Freeman, Butler's bench out-scored its opponent's for the first time this season (24-21) against Youngstown State. Freeman added a career-high four assists in 20 minutes of action. Freshman Candace Jones added eight points off the bench.
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR US?: Freshman Candyce Brown got the most extensive action of her young Butler career Thursday against YSU with 16 minutes and she didn't disappoint. Brown posted career-highs of four rebounds and three assists to go along with a steal.
QUICK SHOTS: For the second time this season and just the third time in Beth Couture's three-plus years at Butler, five Bulldogs scored in double figures against Evansville Dec. 19...Butler is 4-0 when leading at halftime and 5-0 when shooting a higher field goal percentage than the opposition...Butler shot 53 percent (8-15) from three-point range against Youngstown State, the fifth time in 10 games this season the team has shot better than 50 percent from long range.
WE'RE GOING STREAKING: Butler has hit at least five three-pointers in all 10 games this season and in 16 of its last 17 outings dating back to last season...the Bulldogs have scored at least 72 points in six of their last seven games. The team only topped 72 points twice last season in 28 contests.
AGAINST THE PANTHERS: Juniors Jackie Closser (10.8) and Ellen Hamilton (10.3) each have had success against UW-Milwaukee in their respective careers. Hamilton has particularly loved playing in Milwaukee, where her average against the Panthers jumps to 16.5 points per game in two contests.
WORTHLESS STAT OF THE DAY: Butler is 0-3 in its second Horizon League game of the season under head coach Beth Couture.
LISTEN LIVE: Josh Rattray returns as the play-by-play voice of the Bulldogs this season and is joined by Cory Schnurbusch in bringing the action of Butler basketball live on www.butlersports.com all season. Butler Athletics will provide the feed free to fans this season and will also have a video stream available for all home contests and Horizon League games.