Bulldogs Kick-Off Great Alaska Shootout Against UC Riverside On Tuesday

Bulldogs Kick-Off Great Alaska Shootout Against UC Riverside On Tuesday

Nov. 20, 2006

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Butler (1-1) vs. UC Riverside (0-3)
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Time: 8:00 p.m. Alaska Time
Location: Sullivan Arena (8,700) Anchorage, Alaska

Tip-Off: The Bulldogs take on UC Riverside at the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout on Tuesday (Nov. 21) beginning at 8:00 p.m. Alaska Time (Nov. 22 at 12:00 midnight Eastern Time) in Anchorage, Alaska. The two teams will be squaring-off for the first time in women's basketball.

Previewing The Bulldogs: Butler (1-1) will once again be turning to the three-pointer to provide their offensive spark this season, as nearly 40 percent of the team's field goal attempts have come from behind the arc (42-of-107). Junior forward Cassie Freeman has been the strongest contributor from downtown, hitting 6-of-9 for a Horizon League-best .667 efficiency. Senior guards Jackie Closser (18-of-24) and Ellen Hamilton (9-of-11) have each taken more than 75 percent of their field goal attempts from long range this season after ranking one-two in the league in treys per game last year. Sophomore center Lade Akande paces the Bulldogs with 14.0 points per game and gives the team a strong inside presence. Sophomore guard Candace Jones has been the top rebounding threat at 5.5 per game and ranks fourth with 9.0 points per game. Junior forward Candace Bain and sophomore guard Candyce Brown are the top options off the bench. Head coach Beth Couture (307-184) is in her fifth season with the Bulldogs.

Pre-Game Conditioning -- With Sleds: The Bulldogs spent their first day in Alaska on Sunday (Nov. 19) touring the mountain scenery along the coast before finishing the afternoon by sledding on the hills at Kincaid Park, located a few miles southwest of downtown Anchorage. "They're conditioning, and they don't even realize it," head coach Beth Couture joked. No injuries, frostbite or hypothermia to report.

Butler Basketball on the Web: Butler will not have radio broadcast of their games at the Great Alaska Shootout. The Bulldog broadcast will return to the web on Sunday (Nov. 26) against Ohio, with Cory Schnurbusch serving as the play-by-play voice for the remainder of the 2006-07 season. The broadcasts will feature live game action on the web at www.ButlerSports.com and will be offered for free. Butler will also have video streaming available for all home contests during the year.

Bulldogs Pull Away From Bradley For Win: Butler used an 18-5 run in the final minutes to claim an 85-73 victory over Bradley in the home opener on Nov. 17. The Bulldogs shot 62.5 percent from the field in the second half to pull away after battling the Braves through 12 lead changes and 14 ties. Lade Akande led four Bulldogs in double-figures with 18 points, while Jackie Closser notched a career-high 11 assists.

Keeping It Going: With her three-pointer against Bradley on Nov. 17, Jackie Closser extended her three-point streak to 30 games. She made sure that every opponent got to feel her wrath from three-point last season, connecting from downtown in all 28 of her games played in 2005-06. The Race to 1,000: With 14 points against the Bradley, guard Jackie Closser now stands just 87 points shy of becoming the 17th player in school history with 1,000 career points. Fellow guard Ellen Hamilton is not far behind, needing just 101 to eclipse 1,000 after notching 10 points against Braves. With a gap of just 14 points between the two, the race to 1,000 has a good chance of being a photo-finish.

A Good Shot It's Lade: Even though the Bulldogs continue to turn to the three-pointer for much of their offense, sophomore Lade Akande has been a force to be reckoned with on the post. The Horizon League Preseason First-Team selection leads the team with 14.0 points per game, 12 field goals and 26 field goal attempts.

Posting-Up From Downtown: Junior forward Cassie Freeman has been the Bulldogs' hottest shooters from beyond the arc this season. She leads the team and is tied for first in the Horizon League with a .667 three-point percentage (6-of-9), including a 3-for-3 showing against Bradley on Nov. 17. Freeman ranked third in the Horizon League in three-point percentage last season, hitting 45.5 percent, as she was the only post player ranked among the league's top 15 three-point shooters.

Keeping Up With Jones: The Bulldogs have been getting their strongest rebounding performances from a somewhat unexpected source. Five-foot-seven sophomore guard Candace Jones paces the team with 5.5 rebounds per game and ranks 11th in the Horizon League.

A Little Help: Jackie Closser's 11 assists against Bradley on Nov. 17 were a career-high for the 5-5 Butler guard. She touts 337 assists in her career, the seventh-most in school history, and is just 11 behind Liz Skinner's sixth-place total of 348. The school record of 584 is held by Melissa Kilgore.

Bain Of Their Existence: Junior forward Candace Bain has made things tough for opponents off the bench this season, leading the Bulldogs in bench points in both regular season contests and leading the Horizon League with a perfect 1.000 efficiency (4-for-4) from the free-throw line. She paced the team in points off the bench in eight games last year.

Butler Inks Quartet For 2007: High school stand-outs Azjah Bass, Terra Burns, Chloe Hamilton and Jenny Ostrom have all signed national letters of intent to attend Butler and play basketball beginning in the fall of 2007. All four have earned all-state accolades and are either approaching or have surpassed 1,000 points in their careers.

Lending A Helping Hand: The Butler women's basketball team took time out of their busy schedule on Nov. 4 to assist at the Special Olympics Area 8 Bowling Championships at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis. Members of the team and coaching staff helped out as lane assistants, runners and scorers for the event and presented the awards to the winners. Special Olympics Indiana provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for persons eight years of age and older with intellectual disabilities.

Bulldogs Tabbed Third: The Bulldogs were picked to finish third in the Horizon League this season in a poll of the league's coaches, sports information directors and media. Butler tallied 192 points in the poll, including one first-place vote, and finished just six points behind second-place UW-Milwaukee (198). UW-Green Bay was selected to win the regular season title, receiving 234 points and 22 of the 27 voters' first-place ballots.

Doubling-Up the First Team: Senior Jackie Closser and sophomore Lade Akande were both mentioned among the Horizon League's finest as members of the 2006-07 Preseason All-League First Team. Butler was the only school to have multiple players mentioned on the five-player team.

Back For More: The Bulldogs return nearly 95 percent of their scoring from last season in their eight returning players. The octet also combined to nail down every one of the team's 223 three-pointers last year.

It's Miller Time: Well, not quite yet. Sophomore guard Tara Miller will have to wait until the Dec. 18 game at Louisville to become eligible for play this season. The 5-10 Ramsey, Ind. native transferred to Butler in the fall of 2005 from Indiana University.

At The Buzzer: The Bulldogs' next opponent and game time will be decided by the results of Tuesday's contests. A win by Butler against UC Riverside will pit the Bulldogs against the winner of the Alaska-Anchorage/Air Force game at 5:00 p.m. AT. A loss to the Highlanders would place the Bulldogs in the third-place game against the UAA/USAFA game beginning at 2:30 p.m. AT.