Jan. 27, 2006
THE TIP: Winners of three of its last four, Butler looks to continue its hot play Saturday against Wright State (8-11, 4-5 Horizon League). The women's game at noon is the opener of a Butler-Wright State basketball doubleheader with the men's contest to follow. Butler enters with a record of 9-9 (4-3). Free video of both games will be available live at www.butlersports.com.
THE SERIES: This is the 32nd meeting between the Bulldogs and Wright State. Butler owns a 19-12 advantage, including a 9-5 edge in Indianapolis. The Bulldogs took a 78-56 decision in Dayton 14 days ago after the Raiders captured both contests during the 2004-05 season.
HOMEWARD BOUND: Butler is in the midst of a road stretch that has the team away from Hinkle Fieldhouse for five of six contests with Saturday's game as the only one at home. Butler has split the first two road games of the trip and will travel to Youngstown State, Cleveland State and Detroit Thursday through Monday.
OFFENSIVE BEHAVIOR: Butler is scoring at a 70.1 point-per-game clip so far this season, the second-best mark in the Horizon League (trailing only UW-Green Bay at 71.5). The Bulldogs boast three of the top seven scorers in the Horizon League in Jackie Closser (14.5), Lade Akande (14.4) and Ellen Hamilton (14.2). The trio ranks 5-6-7 in the league standings.
STUFFING THE STATSHEET: Senior Stephanie Boeke went 6-of-8 from the free throw line Wednesday at IPFW, posting eight points in the win. However, it was her all-around play that was most impressive. Boeke had career-highs of 11 rebounds and eight assists against no turnovers in 35 minutes of play.
Boeke leads the Horizon League in assist/turnover ratio (1.96), in addition to being second in free throw percentage (.841), fourth in rebounding (6.8), sixth in offensive rebounding (2.3) and eighth in both assists (3.1) and blocks (0.7).
DIALED IN: Butler has moved to the top of the Horizon League and remains among the national leaders in long distance proficiency. The Bulldogs lead the Horizon League in three-point percentage (.395) and three-pointers per game (7.8). Butler ranks fifth among the NCAA's 324 institutions in three-pointers made and seventh in trey percentage.
Butler has improved to 8.3 treys per game in its seven league contests.
WE APPRECIATE YOUR CHARITY: Butler iced its 70-60 win over IPFW Wednesday with a 26-of-36 performance from the free throw line. Junior Jackie Closser led the charge with a 9-of-12 showing at the charity stripe. Stephanie Boeke (.841), Jackie Closser (.828) and Ellen Hamilton (.789) rank 2-4-6 in the Horizon League in free throw accuracy.
SHOOTING SPREE: Junior Ellen Hamilton had a game-high 19 points at IPFW Wednesday, hitting 5-of-8 from the field, including a 3-of-5 performance from behind the arc. She added six free throws. Hamilton leads the Horizon League in three-point accuracy (.481) and is second to teammate Jackie Closser in three-pointers made (2.83 per game).
Hamilton is averaging 18.2 ppg over her last five games, hitting at least three treys in all five contests.
NO. 300: Butler head coach Beth Couture hit the 300 milestone for career wins Jan. 18 with the Bulldogs' 85-72 triumph over Loyola at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The first 258 wins of Couture's career came at Presbyterian College. In her fourth season at Butler, Couture has averaged better than 18 wins per season in her 17 campaigns as a head coach.
DOING THE DISHES: Junior Jackie Closser continues to lead the Horizon League in assists at 5.5 per game and dishes out 6.6 in league games. She's second to teammate Stephanie Boeke in assist/turnover ratio (1.92) and has moved into ninth place on Butler's career assists list with 271.
Closser is 19th in the NCAA in assists and hasn't had a game this season with more turnovers than assists.
`BOARD' OUT OF THEIR MINDS: The Bulldogs out-rebounded IPFW, 42-33, Wednesday night, the fourth opponent Butler has out-rebounded in its last five games. Freshman Lade Akande ranks second in the Horizon League at 8.1 boards per game. She's followed by Stephanie Boeke (6.8, fourth) and Cassie Freeman (4.9, 14th).
THREE-POINT SHOOTOUT: Junior Jackie Closser continues to lead the Horizon League with an average of 2.88 three-pointers per game. That also places her 13th in the nation in treys made. Junior Ellen Hamilton is right on her heels (2.83 per game, 16th 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. Closser and Hamilton rank 2-3 in Butler's career three-pointers list.
Hamilton is averaging a league-best 3.43 treys per game in league action.
STARTING OVER: Sophomore Cassie Freeman has been re-energized by her return to the starting line-up. Since being re-inserted into the first five six games ago, Freeman is averaging 7.7 ppg and 6.5 rpg, while shooting 54 percent from three-point range. She tied her season-high with 11 points Wednesday against IPFW, just one off her career-high.
QUICK SHOTS: Lade Akande leads the Horizon League in blocked shots at 1.61 per game...the Bulldogs are 9-1 when shooting a better field goal percentage than their opponent and 7-1 when leading at the half...senior Gina Grussing was one of 12 Butler student-athletes to post a 4.0 grade point average during the fall semester. Grussing joined Stephanie Boeke, Jackie Closser and Cassie Freeman on the Butler Athletic Director's Academic Honor Roll...Ellen Hamilton (Jan. 16) joined Jackie Closser (Dec. 5) and Lade Akande (Dec. 26) in winning the Horizon League's Player of the Week honor. The only other season when three different Bulldogs earned the distinction was the 1996-97 season.
WE'RE GOING STREAKING: This is the first time in Beth Couture's four seasons that Butler has had a winning record after seven Horizon League games...junior Ellen Hamilton has led the team in scoring in four of the last five games...Butler has hit at least one three-pointer in 142 straight games, dating back to Feb. 1, 2001.
ON THE DEFENSIVE: The Bulldogs held UW-Green Bay to 56 points Sunday, which tied the Phoenix's season-low and was just one point more than the season-low for a Butler opponent. UWGB's three three-pointers and .200 mark from behind the arc were both season-lows for the Phoenix. Butler followed that performance by holding IPFW to 60 points on 38-percent shooting, including just 2-of-12 from behind the arc.
STRONG FINISH: You better jump on Butler early because they have enjoyed second-half success all season. Butler scores 38.4 points in the second half compared to 30.3 in the opening 20 minutes. The Bulldogs also shoot 43 percent from behind the arc (84 treys) in the second half against 34-percent three-point accuracy (54 total) in the first half.
DOING IT `WRIGHT': Butler out-scored Wright State, 49-25, in the second half Jan. 14 at the Nutter Center to take a 78-56 win. Nine of the Bulldogs' season-high 12 three-pointers came in the second half, as Butler quickly erased a two-point halftime deficit with a 13-2 run to open the second 20 minutes. Ellen Hamilton had a career-high 24 points.
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 Jan. 17, the first day of classes this semester.
WORTHLESS STAT OF THE DAY: Butler is 5-1 when Ellen Hamilton misses at least one free throw and only 3-5 this season when she is perfect from the line.