December 28, 2010

Butler Closes 2010 At Home vs. Bowling Green

2010-11 Butler Women's Basketball

Bowling Green (11-1) at Butler (6-5)
Wednesday, Dec. 29 - 7 p.m. ET
Indianapolis, Ind. - Hinkle Fieldhouse
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Bulldogs Finish 2010 Year vs. Bowling Green

The Butler women’s basketball team will close the 2010 calendar year against mid-major power Bowling Green Wednesday, Dec. 29 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. BU split two games last week in South Carolina, while BGSU has won 11 straight games since losing its season opener.

 

The Starting 5 - Butler’s Top Storylines

1. Mid-Major Power Showdown: Wednesday’s game will feature two of the top mid-major programs in the Midwest. Bowling Green has won at least 26 games in each of the past five seasons and made four NCAA Tournament appearances since 2005. The Bulldogs have enjoyed three consecutive 20-win seasons and a pair of WNIT berths. 

2. What A Difference A Decade Makes: In December of 2001, Bowling Green came to Hinkle Fieldhouse to play Butler. It’s safe to say that game wasn’t the match-up of successful teams it is today. The Bulldogs won the game in overtime, 78-73, one of three victories en route to a 3-26 season. BG limped through a 9-19 campaign that year. Two years later, Butler won 14 games while the Falcons went 21-10.

3. 3 Straight 20s: Butler has won 20 games in each of the past three seasons, the first time the team has achieved that as a Division I program. The Bulldogs went 20-10 in 2007-08 and followed that with a 20-12 season in 2008-09. Last year’s mark of 23-10 was the team’s most wins since the 1997-98 Bulldogs went 25-6 under June Olkowski. Butler has gone 63-32 during the last three seasons. 

4. Bowen Among The League Leaders: Brittany Bowen, who scored a career-high 30 points in Butler’s win over Indiana State and has four outings with at least 23 points, currently stands fourth in the Horizon League with 15.8 points per game. She is among the league’s top 6 in field goal percentage (6th), 3-point shooting percentage (2nd) and free throw percentage (2nd).

5. Closing 2010: Wednesday’s game is Butler’s final contest of the 2010 calendar year. The Bulldogs enter with a 22-11 mark in 2010, the most wins in a calendar year since the team won 23 games in 1998. The school record for wins in a calendar year is 25, set in 1981. BU went 21-10 in the 2009 calendar year.

 

Butler-Bowling Green Series: Butler leads the all-time series with Bowling Green 3-1. The two teams haven’t played since Beth Couture’s first season in 2002. The Bulldogs are 1-0 against the Falcons in Hinkle Fieldhouse.

1,000 Point Scorers: With six points in Butler’s win over IUPUI, Brittany Bowen became the 21st player in Butler history to score 1,000 career points. The 5-10 senior reached the mark with a lay-up at the 16:05 mark of the first half. Bowen now has 1,097 points as a Bulldog. Additionally, Alyssa Pittman crossed the 1,000-point mark last season. She scored 715 points in her two years at Eastern Michigan and now has 1,123 for her career.

Pitt Knows BG: Alyssa Pittman, who played two seasons at Eastern Michigan, knows Bowling Green a bit better than her teammates. She played against BG three times at EMU. Bowling Green won all three games and Pittman averaged 8.7 points per game.

That Just Happened: It’s hard to explain Butler’s wild 105-98 double-overtime win at Ball State last Sunday. The Bulldogs trailed by 14 in the second half before outscoring BSU 32-18 over a span of 10:36. Ball State made what appeared to be a game-winning buzzer beater but it was ruled the shot wasn’t off in time. Butler would need a late bucket in the first OT to extend the game another period before fending off the Cardinals. Six Bulldogs scored in double figures, and four fouled out. 

Bowen Is Scoring: Brittany Bowen, coming off a 23-point effort at South Carolina, is fourth in the league averaging 15.8 points this season. In addition to scoring 30 against ISU, the 5-10 senior has two outings with 26 points this season, coming against Saint Louis and Wake Forest. She also has posted two 25-point performances prior to this season.

Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 134 victories at Butler, owns the most women’s basketball wins in Butler history. Couture last season passed Linda Mason (1976-84), who won 124 games. The record-breaking victory came at UIC on March 4 of last season.

Sharpshooter: Brittany Bowen is arguably one of the best shooters in the Horizon League. She is the only player ranked among the league leaders in FG percentage (6th), 3-point percentage (2nd) and free throw percentage (2nd). Also, she’s the only player in the top 6 in all three categories.

...Bowen Nationally: In the most recent NCAA stats, Brittany Bowen rates 33rd in the nation in free throw percentage. She also stands 94th in the country in field goal shooting.

Chloe Solid At The ‘4’: Chloe Hamilton is having her best season, averaging 12.0 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. The 5-10 senior tallied a career-high 21 points vs. Coastal Carolina and has been a consistent scorer, notching double figures in seven of Butler’s 10 games. Hamilton burst into the starting lineup last season, averaging 7.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game after playing sparingly her first two seasons. 

Bowen At The Free Throw Line: Brittany Bowen, a career .828 free throw shooter, made her first 23 free throw attempts before missing in the first half against ISU on Dec. 4. Bowen is now 40-for-45, ranking second in the Horizon League in free throw percentage at .889.

A Fresh Start: Butler went with a new starting lineup against Coastal Carolina, inserting young guards Jenna Cobb and Claire Freeman into the lineup. Cobb, making her first career start, had four points and four assists. The Ohio native made two key baskets in the final 24 seconds of the first half to give BU a 38-28 halftime lead against CCU. Freeman, making her 16th career start and first this season, grabbed a career-best eight rebounds.

Dawgs Eating Up Indiana: Butler has made a habit of winning in the state of Indiana. BU is 12-4 in its last 16 games against in-state opponents. The Bulldogs are 3-2 this season, with wins over IUPUI, Indiana State and Ball State. Dating back to the 2007-08 season, BU is 18-6 against Indiana schools.

Hamm Learning Quickly: Freshman center Sarah Hamm has emerged as an effective interior player. The 6-2 rookie is averaging 7.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. She has started eight games this season, scoring in double figures five times. She posted career highs with 15 points eight rebounds against Ball State. She also scored 12 against Coastal Carolina and 11 vs. Ohio Dominican and Indiana State.

Chloe Named All-Tourney: Chloe Hamilton was named to the WBCA All-Tournament Team after averaging 16.3 points and 8.0 rebounds over the three games at Notre Dame. Hamilton started the weekend with a career-best 19 points vs. Wake Forest, then she matched that output in a win over IUPUI. She finished the weekend with 11 points and eight rebounds against Notre Dame.

Life After Mel: Butler is charged with the task of replacing the 2010 Horizon League Player of the Year in Melanie Thornton. Last season, the 6-1 Thornton averaged 15.7 points and 8.8 rebounds while leading the team in steals and blocks. Thornton had at least 10 points in 25 of her last 27 games, while leading the team in scoring, rebounding, blocks and steals. Thornton had 12 double-doubles and was also named Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year.

Conference Wins Record: In each of the past two seasons, Butler has set a school record with 14 league victories. The Bulldogs have posted back-to-back 14-4 conference seasons and are 49-21 (.700) in league play over the last four seasons. 

No Burns For The Bulldogs: Terra Burns, BU’s starting point guard and team co-captain, has missed the last five games with a leg injury suffered against Notre Dame. She continues to be evaluated. The 5-9 senior was averaging 8.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.8 assists before getting injured.

Bulldogs Finish Second: Butler placed second in both the Horizon League regular season and the league tournament last year. After going 14-4 and finishing one game behind champion Green Bay, BU defeated Wright State and Detroit to advance to the league tourney final. No. 4 seed Cleveland State won the league championship game. 

After Halftime, Try Again: After 11 games, it seems Beth Couture’s halftime speeches make the Bulldogs shoot better. Butler is shooting .443 from the floor after halftime, compared to just .375 in the first 20 minutes. As a result, Butler is scoring 28.4 points per game in the first half compared to 38.3 points in the second half. Butler played a poor first half against Indiana State, trailing by 13 at halftime. The Bulldogs then won the second half 52-30 against the Sycamores. BU was down at the half at Ball State before going on a late run and winning in double overtime.

Couture’s Cause: In April 2009, Beth Couture was diagnosed with breast cancer. She finished treatments and radiation at a fast pace, just in time to return to the sideline for last season’s opener. Couture is now cancer-free and an avid supporter of breast cancer awareness. She walked 38 miles over a two-day span for St. Vincent’s Weekend To End Breast Cancer during the fall.

BU Among Mid-Majors: Butler’s success over the past three seasons has made noise nationally around mid-major women’s basketball. The Bulldogs were picked No. 22 in the first Mid-Major Top 25 poll by CollegeInsider.com. BU has since dropped out of the top 25. Green Bay, after a 10-1 start with wins over three Big Ten teams, has moved to No. 1. Bowling Green currently stands No. 2 in the poll. Beth Couture and Detroit’s Autumn Rademacher represent the Horizon League on the mid-major poll.

All ‘O’ Board: Playing significant minutes with a small lineup hasn’t stopped Butler from being aggressive on the offensive boards. BU is second in the league with 14.3 offensive rebounds a game. BU leads the conference in offensive rebounding percentage, hauling in 37.8 percent of its missed shots. Butler has grabbed at least 10 offensive rebounds in 10 of 11 games this season, with two outings of 19 offensive boards. The Bulldogs rank second in the HL in rebounding margin at +2.8. Chloe Hamilton (34), Brittany Bowen (28) and Sarah Hamm (22) lead the team in offensive rebounds.

Getting The Point: Freshman point guard Jenna Cobb has been getting more playing time as a result of her playing excellent defense and her evolution as a playmaker with the basketball. She has a 14:8 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is the best on the team. Defensively, she has proven to be able to pressure opponents into turnovers.

Here’s A Stat To Watch: Turnovers. Bowling Green is among the best teams in the nation in taking care of the ball. BG averages just 13.4 turnovers per game, while BU averages 18.0 turnovers per game. Butler can keep pace with the Falcons if it values the basketball.

Up Next: Butler will open Horizon League play at home against Valparaiso Sunday, Jan. 2 at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs have won three of its last four against the Crusaders.