CANCUN - The Butler women's basketball team will be aiming for a Thanksgiving weekend split as it takes on Northern Iowa Friday, Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. ET. The Bulldogs dropped an 80-64 contest to 6-0 Syracuse Friday night, while Northern Iowa enters the game against BU with an 0-4 record.
Senior forward Melanie Thornton - seeing her first action of the season - led the Bulldogs with 14 points against Syracuse. Freshman Becca Bornhorst had 11 while juniors Chloe Hamilton and Azjah Bass each added 10 points.
Although the Bulldogs lost by 16, they were competitive with the undefeated Orange for most of the contest. BU jumped out to a 10-2 lead early and trailed just 36-31 at halftime. Syracuse built a 59-44 lead with 9:19 remaining but the Dogs answered with a 9-1 run to cut the deficit to 60-53 with seven minutes left.
Butler (2-2) couldn't climb any closer, as Syracuse's largest lead of the night was the final 16-point margin.
SU's Erica Morrow had 29 points, while Nicole Michael and Kayla Alexander each scored 18.
Butler's next opponent, Northern Iowa, also had a rough start to the Cancun Thanksgiving Classic. The Panthers (0-4) lost to Louisville, 81-53, despite being down just five at the half. UNI's 0-4 record could be deceiving, as it has three losses to the likes of Missouri, Iowa and Louisville.
UNI is led by Kim Wypiszinski, a former Milwaukee player. She averages 12.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Nicole Clausen (11.3) and Jacqui Kalin (10.8) also average double-digit scoring.
On paper, Butler and Northern Iowa seem to be quite different squads. Northern Iowa's strength is in the post, as the team rebounds well (+1.2 margin) and has three players 6-foot-0 and taller who play a lot of minutes. However, UNI shoots just .370 from the field and just .307 from 3-point range.
Conversely, Butler shoots .444 from the floor but has a -4.5 rebounding margin this season. Syracuse out-rebounded the Bulldogs 46-28. BU has been beaten on the boards in three of the season's four games.
Butler will return home for a pair of home games next week. The Dogs host Evansville Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. Then BU welcomes Miami (Ohio) Saturday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. for what is a Butler athletics tripleheader that day. The football team plays at noon and men's basketball hosts Valparaiso at 7 p.m.