January 22, 2010

BU Hosts Detroit With 2nd Place On The Line

2009-10 Butler Women's Basketball
Butler (11-6, 4-2 HL) vs. Detroit (7-10, 5-1 HL)

 

Saturday, January 23, 2010 - 2 p.m. ET
Indianapolis, Ind. - Hinkle Fieldhouse

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THINK PINK BREAST CANCER AWARENESS - Feb. 13 - 2 p.m.

 

Bulldogs Host Detroit With 2nd Place At Stake

The Butler women's basketball team hosts Detroit Saturday, Jan. 23 at 2 p.m. with a share of second place in the league on the line. The Bulldogs, 4-2 in the Horizon League, are coming off a 16-point win vs. Wright State. They can move into a second-place tie with Detroit and Cleveland State with a victory. UDM is coming off an overtime win at Valpo.

 

The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines

1. Horizon League Home Cooking: The Bulldogs are 21-8 in their last 29 Horizon League home contests, dating back to January 2007. The Dogs are 3-1 in home HL games this season and were 8-1 last season. BU has an average scoring margin of +11.0 in its four home league games. 

2. 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 third in the Horizon League with 15.4 points per game, and she is also among the league leaders in rebounding (4th, 8.0), steals (3rd, 2.3) and blocks (2nd, 1.6). Last weekend, the 6-foot-1 senior hit all seven of her shots and all three of her free throws for 17 points at Cleveland State, and she followed that with 19 points and nine rebounds at Youngstown State.

3. Depending On Defense: Butler's defense has been the primary factor in whether BU wins or not. In 11 Butler victories, the Bulldogs are holding opponents to 54.1 points and 37 percent shooting. In six BU losses, the team is giving up 78.7 points per game and allowing 47.1 percent shooting. The Bulldogs are 11-1 when yielding less than 70 points, and 0-5 when giving up more than 70.

4. Coach Couture's Battle: BU head coach Beth Couture successfully battled breast cancer during the offseason, and as of last week 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.

5. Need To Make A Move In The Standings: A win Saturday can help BU make a push toward the top of the Horizon League standings. Butler's 4-2 HL record is currently tied for third place with Cleveland State. A Bulldog victory and wins by Green Bay and CSU can move Butler into a three-way tie for second place at 5-2, just one game back of the league-leading Phoenix. UIC plays 14th-ranked Green Bay Saturday and Cleveland State hosts winless Youngstown State.

 

Butler vs. Detroit: Butler has won the last eight meetings against Detroit and has swept the Titans in each of the last three seasons. BU has won the last five games by a 14.0 point margin, including four times by double figures. Beth Couture is 11-4 vs. Detroit, who hasn't beaten Butler since 2006.

Looking For A Detroit Repeat: Terra Burns had a team-high 13 points and made three 3-pointers in Butler's 60-42 win over Detroit last February.

Couture Chasing Wins Record: With wins in the last two games, Beth Couture moved past June Olkowski (1993-99) for second place on Butler's all-time wins list with 116. She is just eight victories shy of Linda Mason's (1976-84) school-record 124 wins. Thursday's win over Wright State was Couture's 600th career game as a college head coach. She is 374-226 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 11 games, and she has scored at least nine points in each game this she has played this season. The senior had 24 points, 13 rebounds, four steals and three blocks against UIC on Jan. 4. Thornton is averaging 18.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals in league play this season.

...Mel Moving Up List: Thornton is sixth in BU history with 98 blocked shots and needs seven 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 39th in the country (first in the HL) with just 15.8 turnovers per game. The Bulldogs are also 44th in the nation (second in the HL) with a 3.8 turnover margin. 

Bowen Keeps Scorin': Brittany Bowen, currently seventh in the league in scoring, has been BU's top scorer six times this season. She tied her career high with 25 points at Cincinnati and also had 20 points against Ball State. She has posted team highs vs. Kentucky (16), IPFW (17), Evansville (19), Miami (Ohio) (18). Against Miami, Bowen had 18 points and 10 rebounds, her second career double-double. Bowen is among the Horizon League's top seven in five different categories (see page 4).

Sharpshooter: Brittany Bowen ranks third in the league and 34th in the country in field goal percentage (.544). Her field goal percentage is fourth in the nation among players listed as a guard. She also stands 62nd in the country in free throw percentage (.820).

Defending Home Court: Butler is 7-1 at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season, outscoring opponents by an average of 13.9 points a game. BU is shooting 43.7 percent from the floor and has a +6.0 rebounding margin in home games. Melanie Thornton scores 15.7 points per game at home, with Brittany Bowen scoring 15.5.

Different Lineup, Different Defense: After giving up 81 points at Cleveland State, Beth Couture has inserted a different starting lineup the past two games to shore up the team's perimeter defense. The change helped Butler hold Youngstown State to a season-low 14 points in the first half and forced 23 turnovers vs. Wright State.

Chloe Solid At The ‘4': Chloe Hamilton, who has started all 17 games this season, had her first career double-double vs. Wright State. She had a career-high 16 points with 10 rebounds. She also has two 12-point games this season. 

Susan Moving Up: Susan Lester continues to climb several career-record lists at Butler. With 11 rebounds last weekend, Lester is now sixth all-time in boards at BU. With just four more points, she will move into a tie for 14th on Butler's scoring list. She has also climbed to fifth in both 3-pointers made and attempted.

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.

Make Them, They're Free: The Bulldogs are third in the Horizon League in free throw shooting, hitting at a 70.8 percent rate. Butler's 12-for-13 FT showing vs. Loyola was the team's best since 2005. BU is shooting 71.5 percent from the line during home games, and has made more FTs (113) than opponents have attempted (110) at Hinkle.

Bowen At The FT Line: Brittany Bowen, a career .820 free throw shooter, made 25 foul shots in a row before missing one vs. UIC. She is 37-for-42 dating back to November 21 at Saint Louis.

Just Make Shots: Sometimes basketball is simple: just make shots. Butler is 10-0 when shooting a higher field goal percentage than its opponent. The Dogs are 1-6 when the other team shoots better.

Brierly Returns: After missing six games with an ankle injury, Devin Brierly made her return last weekend. She played 21 minutes at Cleveland State and has started the last two games.

That's Offensive: BU is second in the Horizon League in scoring with 69.5 points per game. The Bulldogs have scored at least 74 in a game five times this season, compared to just once for Detroit.

Here's A Stat To Watch: Detroit is a good outside shooting team, ranking second in the Horizon League with a .355 3-point shooting percentage. Butler is second in the league defending the 3-ball (.297), allowing a league-low 78 treys. 

X-Factor: Chloe Hamilton, coming off a career-best 16 points and 10 rebounds, could be a key player Saturday. The versatile post player may be a match-up problem for a UDM team that plays a lot of four-guard lineups.