2009 Butler Women's Basketball
Butler (0-0) at Kentucky (1-0)
Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009
Lexington, Ky. - Memorial Coliseum
Bulldogs Tip Off 2009-10 Season
Coming off a 20-12 season and a WNIT appearance, the Butler women's basketball team tips off the 2009-10 campaign at Kentucky Sunday, Nov. 15 at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Big Blue Sports Network and FSN South. The Bulldogs face a UK team that opened the season Friday (Nov. 13) with a 92-58 win over Boston University.
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Dogs Coming Off Historic Season: Butler enters its 35th season of varsity women's basketball with the momentum of a program on the rise. The Bulldogs went 20-12 last season and advanced to the second round of the WNIT. It was Butler's first postseason berth since the 1998 team also went to the WNIT. Additionally, the Bulldogs have won 20 games the last two seasons. The last consecutive 20-win seasons for BU was 1994-95 and 1995-96.
2. Butler Returns 4 Starters: Three primary starters return from last year's 20-12 team - junior guards Terra Burns (5.9 ppg) and Brittany Bowen (10.9) and senior Melanie Thornton (9.6 ppg). Senior post Susan Lester (10.2 ppg), who started 11 games last year and finished 2nd on the team in scoring, also returns.
3. Coach Couture's Battle: BU head coach Beth Couture successfully battled breast cancer during the offseason. She was diagnosed last April and after 16 weeks of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation treaments, Couture is back on the sideline for her 8th season at Butler. Couture's last treatment came last week.
4. Lester Closing In On 1,000 Points: Susan Lester enters her senior season with 994 career points, just six shy of 1,000. Lester, who averages 10.8 points per game for her career, will become the 20th player in Butler history to reach 1,000 career points.
5. Lester, Bowen Grab Preseason HL Honors: Susan Lester and Brittany Bowen were each named preseason All-Horizon League in the league's preseason poll. Lester, who was a preseason second-team pick last year, was named to the first team and Bowen was voted to the second team. Butler was voted to 3rd in the poll, following defending champion Green Bay and Cleveland State.
Lester Reaching 1,000: Susan Lester has 994 career points, needing just six more to become the 20th player in Butler history to score 1,000 points.
Dogged Defense: Butler made its mark defensively last season, posting a 17-4 record when holding opponents to less that 60 points. The Dogs ranked 35th in the nation in scoring defense (56.2) and 30th in steals per game (10.4) last season.
Big, Tall Dogs: Although by just a fraction of an inch, this year's Butler team 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.
Postseason Victory: The Bulldogs' win over Duquesne in the WNIT was the program's first postseason win since a 95-90 WNIT victory over Bowling Green in 1998.
Bulldogs Picked 3rd: Butler was voted to finish 3rd in the Horizon League, according to the league's preseason poll. Butler, which finished 14-4 and 2nd in the Horizon League last season, trailed Green Bay and Cleveland State in the voting.
Strong Backcourt Play: One of Butler's strengths this season will be guard play, as BU returns starters Terra Burns and Brittany Bowen. Burns started 24 games a year ago and led the team in assists. Bowen led the Bulldogs in scoring last year while shooting 41 percent from 3-point range and 83 percent at the free throw line.
Freeman Plays In Big Games: Claire Freeman, one of BU's four freshmen, has a history of playing in big games. She led her high school team, Heritage Christian, to four state championships in Indiana. Last year, she made the game-winning shot in the Class 2A final, which was played in Lucas Oil Stadium.
Pittman Brings Instant Offense: Alyssa Pittman, a transfer from Eastern Michigan, is projected to be a key scorer for BU this season. Pittman, the 2007 MAC Freshman of the Year, averaged 12.3 points per game in two seasons at EMU. In just two seasons, she has made 152 career 3-pointers, which would be 4th in Butler history.
Continuing A Strong 2009: Butler is 15-6 since the calendar turned to 2009, its best calendar year since going 21-8 in 2007. BU has 11 games during November and December this season.