CHICAGO - Senior Melanie Thornton tied her career high with 24 points and the Butler women's basketball team finished the regular season with a 73-46 win at Loyola Saturday afternoon. BU, which clinched second place in the Horizon League, finishes the regular season 21-8 and 14-4 in conference play.
Thornton shot 10-for-13 from the floor also had six rebounds and four steals while playing just 24 minutes. She had 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting in the first half. Junior Brittany Bowen scored 14 points and junior Chloe Hamilton added 12 in a balanced Bulldog attack. All 13 players in uniform played at least five minutes.
"I'm proud of our team. We were determined to take care of business," head coach Beth Couture said. "It all started with Mel dominating inside early. That opened it up for our guards."
The Bulldogs took control of the game early and cruised throughout. BU took its first double-digit lead at 30-20 with 3:30 remaining in the first half. A Bowen lay-up with :03 to go put Butler up 40-25 at the half.
A Thornton steal at the 14:43 mark in the second half led to a fast break lay-up by Hamilton and a 50-30 lead for the Bulldogs. Butler took its largest lead at 69-39 with 6:15 to go. Couture subbed her starters out with more than five minutes left in the game.
Elyse VanBogaert led Loyola with 12 points. The Ramblers shot .320 for the game and .286 in the second half. Butler outrebounded Loyola 43-31 and had a 54-16 points in the paint advantage.
The Bulldogs will be the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Speedway Horizon League Women's Basketball Championship. They will host the winner of Monday's Youngstown State-Wright State game on Wednesday, March 10.