Jan. 20, 2006
THE TIP: With momentum coming off its two most impressive offensive outings of the season, Butler travels to Horizon League-leading UW-Green Bay Sunday. The match-up will be televised nationally on ESPNU at 11 a.m. (CST, 12 p.m. Indianapolis). Butler enters the contest with an 8-8 record, including 4-2 in league play. The Phoenix is 13-3 overall and an unblemished 6-0 in conference. In addition, free audio will be available live at www.butlersports.com.
THE SERIES: No Horizon League opponent has proved more difficult over the years for the Bulldogs than UW-Green Bay. The Phoenix carries a 17-game winning streak and 23-7 record against Butler into Sunday's game. The Bulldogs last defeated UWGB Jan. 9, 1999, while the Phoenix has also bounced Butler from four of the last five Horizon League Tournaments.
OFFENSIVE BEHAVIOR: Butler scored a season-best 85 points in its 85-72 win over Loyola Wednesday, one game after knocking down a season-best 12 three-pointers in its Jan. 14 win at Wright State (78-56). Butler's shooting percentages (.509 against Wright State and .492 versus Loyola) are the two best of the season. Butler is scoring 71.2 ppg this season overall and a league-best 75.7 points in Horizon League games.
Butler has three of the top seven scorers in the Horizon League.
BIG PLAY LADE: Freshman Lade Akande posted the sixth 20+ point performance of her young career (and fourth in the last six games) Wednesday against Loyola with 22 points on 10-of-19 shooting. Akande has nine straight double-figure scoring games. She's led the team in scoring in six of those.
Akande is averaging a Horizon League-best 20.7 ppg in league games.
DOING THE DISHES: Junior Jackie Closser matched her career-high with nine assists Wednesday against Loyola, helping the team to dish out helpers on 19 of its 29 field goals. Closser continues to lead the Horizon League in assists at 5.5 per game, one of four statistical categories she paces the conference in. Closser has moved into a tie for ninth place on Butler's career assists list with 260 (with Brandi Kimble, 1990-93).
THREE-POINT SHOOTOUT: Junior Jackie Closser continues to lead the Horizon League with an average of 3.0 three-pointers per game. That also places her eighth in the nation in treys made. Junior Ellen Hamilton ranks second in the Horizon League in both three-point percentage (.473, 11th nationally) and three-pointers made (2.6 per game, 19th nationally). The duo combined for 11 of the team's season-high 12 three-pointers Jan. 14 at Wright State, setting a new Nutter Center record.
TRIPLE YOUR PLEASURE: As a team, Butler leads the Horizon League in three-point percentage (.398), hitting 7.8 three-pointers per game. Butler ranks seventh in three-point percentage nationally, and is second in the league and sixth in the NCAA in three-pointers made.
`STEPHING' UP: Senior Stephanie Boeke posted career-highs of 11 rebounds and seven assists in the Jan. 14 win over Wright State, followed by 11 points and eight boards against Loyola. Boeke is fourth in the league in rebounding (6.5) and 11th in assists (2.9). Both marks are second on the team.
BIG WEEK: Junior Ellen Hamilton picked up Horizon League "Player of the Week" honors on Monday (Jan. 16) after averaging 22.5 points per game in the Bulldogs' two contests last week. Coming off the bench for the first time this season, Hamilton scored 21 points in just 24 minutes against Detroit Jan. 12. She went 7-of-11 from the field, including 5-of-9 from three-point range. She followed that effort with a career-high 24 points, including six three-pointers, in the Jan. 14 win over Wright State. Hamilton joins Jackie Closser (Dec. 5) and Lade Akande (Dec. 26) in winning the league's weekly honor. The only other season when three different Bulldogs earned the distinction was the 1996-97 season.
Hamilton recorded her 750th career point against Loyola Wednesday.
HITTING THE TRI-FECTA: Juniors Jackie Closser and Ellen Hamilton continue to climb toward the top spot in career three-pointers with each having more than a full season remaining. Closser has moved into second place and Hamilton is now tied for third.
`CASSIE' NOVA: Sophomore Cassie Freeman registered a season-high 11 points Wednesday against Loyola, just one off her career-high. Since re-joining the starting line-up four games ago, Freeman is averaging 7.0 ppg and 6.3 rpg.
QUICK SHOTS: Butler's starting line-ups against Detroit and Wright State featured three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior. The game against Detroit was the first time in Beth Couture's Butler tenure that three freshmen got the starting nod. Regulars Stephanie Boeke and Ellen Hamilton replaced newcomers Candace Jones and Candyce Brown against Loyola...senior Gina Grussing was one of 12 Butler student-athletes to post a 4.0 grade point average during the fall semester. Grussing joined Boeke, Jackie Closser and Cassie Freeman on the Butler Athletic Director's Academic Honor Roll...Ellen Hamilton is ninth in the Horizon League in field goal percentage (.490) despite more than 65 percent of her attempts from the field coming from three-point range.
ODDS AND ENDS FROM THE LOYOLA GAME: Butler committed a season-low 10 turnovers Wednesday and held a 22-6 advantage in points off turnovers...junior Carla Gheorghe came off the bench for eight points, her best output in seven games...despite Ellen Hamilton returning to the starting line-up, Butler's bench out-scored its opponent's for the third straight game (18-15), but just the fourth time this season...Loyola's Marquise Hanser entered the game against Butler as the league's leading scorer (18.1 ppg). The Bulldogs limited her to nine points on 3-of-9 shooting, knocking her out of the scoring lead. They will try to pull the same trick Sunday (UWGB's Nicole Soulis now leads the league in scoring at 17.6 ppg).
WE'RE GOING STREAKING: The Bulldogs have combined to shoot 50 percent over their last two games after three straight games shooting less than 40 percent...Butler has hit at least five three-pointers in all 16 games this season and in 22 of its last 23 outings dating back to last season...Jackie Closser has hit at least one three-pointer in 15 straight games, the longest active streak on the team...junior Ellen Hamilton went 6-of-6 at the line against Loyola and is perfect from the charity stripe in 2006 (12-12)...Butler has hit at least one three-pointer in 140 straight games, dating back to Feb. 1, 2001 (against UW-Green Bay).
AGAINST THE PHOENIX: Candace Bain and Jessica Smart made the first starts of their respective Butler careers Jan. 31, 2005 at UW-Green Bay...No Bulldog player averages double figures for her career against the Phoenix. UWGB is the only Horizon League opponent with this distinction...Butler has lost 17 straight games to UWGB, including eight straight in Green Bay (dating back to Jan. 10, 1998)...Beth Couture is 0-8 against the Phoenix at Butler.
MILLER TIME: Butler announced that 2005 Indiana All-Star Tara Miller has joined the Butler program. Miller transfers to the Bulldogs from Indiana University. The 5-10 guard from Ramsey, Ind. (North Harrison) will have 2.5 seasons of eligibility beginning after the first semester of the 2006-07 season. She began practice with the team Tuesday (Jan. 17), the first day of classes this semester.
WORTHLESS STAT OF THE DAY: Junior Jackie Closser was held to eight points Wednesday against Loyola, just the third time this season she hasn't recorded double figures. Butler is 3-0 in those games.