MUNCIE, Ind. - Seven players fouled out. There were 62 fouls called, 88 free throws shot and 20 3-pointers made. In the end of 50 minutes, the Butler women's basketball team survived Ball State, 105-98, in double overtime Sunday afternoon at Worthen Arena.
Six players scored in double figures for BU, including senior Alyssa Pittman with a game-high 22 points. Sophomore Claire Freeman and freshman Sarah Hamm each added career highs 18 and 15 points, respectively.
The game almost ended in regulation, and with Ball State capturing the home win. Freshman Mandy McDivitt drained a step-back 3-pointer with 4.3 seconds remaining to make it a wild 81-81 game. BSU's Ty'Ronda Benning drove the length of the floor and hit a runner 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded.
With Ball State celebrating a win, the officials went to the monitor to review the play. After several minutes, referee Beverly Roberts waved off Benning's apparent game-winner and the game went into overtime.
The two teams traded points in the first extra period. Ball State (4-5) again had a late advantage, leading 87-85 in the final seconds. Freeman drove the lane and scored with 2 seconds left to tie it again. BSU couldn't get off a final shot and the game went into a second overtime.
With both teams depleted by foul trouble, neither team appeared to have much left. Benches were thin, as four Bulldogs and three Cardinals had fouled out. Butler proved to be the deeper team, as McDivitt buried the Cardinals with a pair of 3s to put the game away. BU led 91-89 when the freshman from Connersville hit back-to-back treys to put the Bulldogs ahead 97-89. Butler got its 100th point on a free throw by senior Azjah Bass. Ball State got within 103-98 but wouldn't get closer.
McDivitt finished with 13 points, including 4-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc. Senior Brittany Bowen had 15 points and senior Chloe Hamilton 14 before each player fouled out. Emily Maggert led Ball State with 21 points and nine rebounds. Benning scored 18 points. Both Maggert and Benning fouled out as well.
Ball State appeared to be running away with the game, leading by 14 with 10:36 to play. The Cardinals had taken command with hot outside shooting, making 11-for-16 in regulation. It was Freeman and freshman point guard Jenna Cobb who set the tone for the comeback.
The Bulldogs trailed 59-47 when Cobb and Freeman came into the game with 13:01 left in the second half. The two young, quick guards controlled the tempo, converting Ball State turnovers into points. With McDivitt and Pittman making shots, Butler cut the lead to 79-75 with 1:13 to go. Pittman nailed a 3-pointer with a minute to go to make it 79-78. After two Ball State free throws made it 81-78, McDivitt made the first of her three big shots.
Butler (5-4) will take final exams this week and return to the court next week in Couture's home state of South Carolina. BU will play Coastal Carolina on a neutral court in Myrtle Beach Sunday, Dec. 19. The Dawgs finish the trip with a game at South Carolina on Dec. 21.
NOTES: It was Butler's first 100-point game since winning 116-101 over Detroit in 1999...the game was BU's first 2OT win since an 86-81 victory at Miami (Ohio) two years ago...Butler out-scored Ball State in the paint 50-16...the game featured 19 lead changes and 15 ties...the Bulldogs got 56 bench points, 53 coming from Pittman, Freeman and McDivitt.