Nov. 24, 2006
Tip-Off: Butler concludes a three-game road swing on Sunday (Nov. 26) when the Bulldogs square off with Ohio beginning at 2:00 p.m. EST at the Convocation Center. The two teams will be meeting for the first time in school history.
Previewing The Bulldogs: Butler (1-3) will once again be turning to the three-pointer to provide their offensive spark this season, with nearly 35 percent of the team's field goal attempts coming from behind the arc (78-of-228). Senior guard Jackie Closser leads the way on offense with 12.3 points per game, including six treys, while senior guard Ellen Hamilton has hit nine triples in four games for 10.5 ppg. Junior forward Cassie Freeman adds long-range ability to the post position, hitting six triples of her own. Sophomore center Lade Akande gives the team a strong inside presence, netting 9.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, while sophomore guard Candace Jones leads the squad with 4.8 boards per contest. Senior Carla Gheorghe (4.3 ppg) has been the top veteran option off the bench, while freshmen Susan Lester (7.7 ppg) and Mel Thornton (2.3 ppg) have added an offensive spark. Head coach Beth Couture (307-186) is in her fifth season with the Bulldogs.
Butler Basketball on the Web: Cory Schnurbusch steps in as the play-by-play voice of the Butler women's basketball team for 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.
Butler Rally Falls Just Short Against Air Force: A 10-foot floater in the lane by Jackie Closser just missed its mark as time expired, as Air Force held off a valiant Bulldog charge in the final minutes, keyed on 13 second-half points by freshman Susan Lester, to claim a 62-61 decision in the third-place game of the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout on Nov. 22. Trailing the entire game and by nine with just over five minutes left in the contest at 55-46, the Bulldogs rallied back to tie the game at 59-59 with little more than a minute remaining. Lester was a one-woman wrecking crew, scoring 11 points in the final 4:34, including a lay-up with 18 seconds left to give the Bulldogs' their first lead of the night. The Falcons would have the final strike in the contest, however, as a lay-in by Pamela Findlay with five ticks remaining would prove to be the difference. Lester finished with a career-high 16 points, while Ellen Hamilton added 11.
Hamilton Earns All-Tournament Honors: After putting together a strong offensive effort in Butler's two Great Alaska Shootout games, senior guard Ellen Hamilton was tabbed to the All-Tournament Team. She was one of six players recognized in the tournament after combining for 28 points in the two games, including a Butler-best 17 points on 5-of-9 three-point shooting against UC Riverside in the Bulldogs' tournament opener. She also was a key contributor in Butler's rally against Air Force, finishing with 11 points.
Five Minutes With Susan Lester: And what a five minutes it was. In the Bulldogs' game against Air Force on Nov. 22, the freshman forward/center took over the contest in the last five minutes, scoring the Bulldogs' final 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field, connecting on her only three-point attempt and grabbing a pair of rebounds. Her lay-up with 18 seconds remaining gave the Bulldogs' their first lead of the game. She finished the night with a game and career-best 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
Keeping it Going: Jackie Closser's triple against Air Force on Nov. 22 extended her three-pointers-made streak to 32 games. So far this season, she is 6-of-30 from beyond the arc and leads the team in scoring with 12.3 points per game. 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.
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 ranks third on the team with 9.5 points per game on 16-of-45 (.356) shooting from the field without taking a single three-point attempt.
The Race to 1,000: With 13 points against Air Force, guard Jackie Closser (939) now stands just 61 points shy of becoming the 17th player in school history with 1,000 career points. Fellow guard Ellen Hamilton (927) continued to hold her ground as well, netting 11 points against the Falcons and needing just 73 points to eclipse 1,000. With a gap of just 12 points between the two, the race to 1,000 has a good chance of being a photo-finish.
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 4.8 rebounds per game and ranks 14th in the Horizon League.
Minute Minder: Jackie Closser must really enjoy timeouts, because she doesn't get too many other opportunities to catch her breath. The senior guard has played the full 40 minutes in three of four games this season and only sat out two minutes in the fourth game against Bradley (Nov. 17). She leads the team and the Horizon League with 39.5 minutes per game.
Feeling A Little Rejected: You really couldn't blame Air Force if they felt a little intimidated by the Bulldogs in their game on Nov. 22. That's because Butler notched 11 blocks in the contest, with six players contributing at least once and junior Cassie Freeman touting a career-best four. Additionally, freshmen Julie Seiss (1) and Mel Thornton (2) picked up their first career put-backs.
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 344 assists in her career, the seventh-most in school history, and is just four behind Liz Skinner's sixth-place total of 348. The school record of 584 is held by Melissa Kilgore.
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.
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.
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.
At The Buzzer: The Bulldogs return to Hinkle Fieldhouse on Wednesday (Nov. 29) when they host cross-town rival IUPUI beginning at 7:00 p.m.