2009-10 Butler Women's Basketball
Butler (12-7, 5-3 HL) vs. Milwaukee (9-10, 4-4 HL)
Saturday, January 30, 2010 - 3 p.m.
Milwaukee, Wis. - Klotsche Center
WBCA PINK ZONE BREAST CANCER AWARENESS GAME- Feb. 13 - 2 p.m.
Bulldogs Close Wisconsin Swing At Milwaukee
The Butler women's basketball team, currently tied for third in the Horizon League standings, will close its Wisconsin trip Saturday, Jan. 30 at Milwaukee. The Bulldogs are coming off a 73-62 loss at No. 24 Green Bay. Milwaukee enters the game having won three straight contests, including a 54-48 win over Valparaiso Thursday night.
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Coach Couture's Battle: BU head coach Beth Couture successfully battled breast cancer during the offseason, and as of two weeks ago she is officially cancer-free. She was diagnosed last April and after 16 weeks of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation treatments, Couture is back on the sideline for her 8th season at Butler. Couture's last treatment came just days before the season opener at Kentucky. Butler's WBCA Pink Zone game for breast cancer awareness is Saturday, Feb. 13 vs. Cleveland State.
2. In The Pink Zone: Although the official WBCA Pink Zone week isn't for another two weeks, Milwaukee is having its Pink Zone game Saturday in honor of Beth Couture, who defeated breast cancer in the offseason. Coach Couture, whose close friendship with UWM's Sandy Botham spurred the honor, will be part of the pregame festivities and toss the ceremonial jump ball.
3. Stat Sheet Stuffer: Senior forward Melanie Thornton's athleticism has allowed her to contribute all over the floor this season. Thornton leads the team and ranks fourth in the Horizon League with 15.3 points per game, and she is also among the league leaders in rebounding (4th, 8.1), steals (3rd, 2.3) and blocks (2nd, 1.6). The 6-foot-1 senior scored 13 points with seven rebounds and four blocked shots at Green Bay. She posted her team-best fifth double-double (17 pts, 10 rebs) vs. Detroit on Jan. 23.
4. Depending On Defense: Butler's defense has been the primary factor in whether BU wins or not. In 12 Butler victories, the Bulldogs are holding opponents to 53.2 points and .361 field goal shooting. In seven BU losses, the team is giving up 77.9 points per game and allowing 48 percent shooting. The Bulldogs are 8-0 when yielding less than 60 points, and 0-6 when giving up more than 70.
5. The Wisconsin Trip: When the league schedule comes out each year, every coach in the Horizon League looks to see when his team travels to Wisconsin to play Green Bay and Milwaukee. Like most teams, the Bulldogs have struggled in the state against those two teams, owning a 3-18 record at Green Bay and Milwaukee since 2000. However, Butler has won three of the last four meetings in Milwaukee.
Butler vs. Milwaukee: Milwaukee leads the all-time series between the two schools, 18-15, but the Bulldogs have won four of the last seven meetings. UWM scored a signature win at BU in last year's Horizon League Championship, ending the game on an 11-0 run to win 53-52. Butler has won three of the past four meetings at Milwaukee, however, UWM won two of three against BU last year.
Couture Chasing Wins Record: Beth Couture moved past June Olkowski (1993-99) for second place on Butler's all-time wins list with 117. She is just seven victories shy of Linda Mason's (1976-84) school-record 124 wins. BU's win over Wright State on Jan. 21 was Couture's 600th career game as a college head coach. She is 375-227 in her 21-year career.
More On Mel: Melanie Thornton ranks in the top four in the Horizon League in five different categories (see page 4). Thornton has at least 10 points in each of the last 13 games, and she has scored at least nine points in each game she has played this season. The senior had 24 points, 13 rebounds, four steals and three blocks against UIC on Jan. 4. Thornton, who has five double-doubles this season, is averaging 17.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.3 steals in league play this season.
...Mel Moving Up List: Thornton is sixth in BU history with 102 blocked shots and needs three more to catch Kelly Kuhn (1997-01) for fifth in school history.
Ball Control: Butler has taken good care of the ball this season, ranking in the top 50 in the country (second in the HL) with just 15.9 turnovers per game. Six times this season, the Bulldogs have committed 14 turnovers or less. The Horizon League average is 17.5 turnovers per contest. BU is also second in the HL with a +3.0 turnover margin.
Sharpshooters: As a team, Butler charts second in the HL and top 50 in the country with a .435 field goal percentage. The Bulldogs, who have shot 50 percent four times this season, have converted 48.6 percent of their shots (105-for-216) over the past four games.
Sharpest Shooter: Brittany Bowen, who is second on the team with 12.7 points per game, ranks sixth in the league in field goal percentage (.524). Her shooting percentage is third in the nation among players listed as a guard. The junior guard is also shooting .788 at the foul line and .421 from 3-point range.
Chloe Solid At The ‘4': Chloe Hamilton, who has started all 19 games this season, tied her career high Thursday night with 16 points at Green Bay. She reached that total on 6-for-8 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. She had her first career double-double vs. Wright State with 16 points and 10 rebounds. She also has two 12-point games this season.
Just Make Shots: Sometimes basketball is simple: just make shots. Butler is 11-0 when shooting a higher field goal percentage than its opponent. The Dogs are 1-7 when the other team shoots better.
Different Lineup, Different Defense: After giving up 81 points at Cleveland State on Jan.14, Beth Couture inserted a different starting lineup to shore up the team's perimeter defense. The change has paid off with BU going 3-1 since the switch. Butler held Youngstown State to a season-low 14 points in the first half and forced 23 turnovers vs. Wright State. BU then held Detroit to a opponent season-low 25.5 percent shooting.
Pitt Heating Up: Alyssa Pittman, who has made 191 career 3-pointers, is giving Butler the scoring the team has been looking for lately. Pittman is averaging 13.0 points over the last three games. The junior, who scored 23 points at Dayton on Dec. 21, owns nine double-figure scoring performances this season.
Susan Moving Up: Susan Lester continues to climb several career-record lists at Butler. Lester is now 14th on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,144 points. She is now sixth all-time with 698 rebounds at BU and fifth in both 3-pointers made (131) and attempted (385).
Tall Dogs: This year's Butler roster is the tallest squad since Beth Couture arrived on campus in 2002. BU's average height is 5-10 2/3, just a bit taller than the 2007 team.
Bowen At The FT Line: Brittany Bowen, a career .807 free throw shooter, made 25 foul shots in a row before missing vs. UIC on Jan 4. She is 37-for-44 dating back to November 21 at Saint Louis.
Green Bay Comeback: Green Bay shot 75 percent (18-for-24) to go up 20 at the half against BU Thursday. The Dogs, who trailed by 24 with 16:50 left, climbed back into the game to cut the lead to 70-62 in the final minute.
That's Offensive: BU is second in the Horizon League in scoring with 68.9 points per game. The Bulldogs have scored at least 74 in a game five times this season, compared to just three for UWM.
Winning Ways At Butler: Butler is on pace for its fifth straight winning season. The Bulldogs have posted a winning record in each of the past four seasons, including 20 wins in each of the last two years. After going 14-14 in 2004-05, Butler posted records of 15-14, 16-15 and 20-10, respectively, before finishing 20-12 last season.
Here's A Stat To Watch: Butler will be looking for a fast start on both ends on Saturday, trying to prevent falling behind early for the second straight game. UWM has not been a first-half team this season, getting outscored (however by only two points a game) in the 20 minutes of games this season.
X-Factor: Devin Brierly, who has been starting at the ‘3' for Butler the last four games, scored five points at Green Bay. That was her highest total since Butler's Cancun trip. With more playing time since her ankle injury in December, she is primed to become more of a threat on offense for BU.