League-Leading Bulldogs Take On UIC
2011-11 Butler Women's Basketball
Unbeaten Bulldogs Take Win Streak To UIC
The Butler women’s basketball team, riding a 6-game winning streak and unbeaten Horizon League record, will travel to UIC Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs are 6-0 in league play and are coming off a 64-60 win at Loyola.
The Starting 5 - Butler’s Top Storylines
1. Unbeaten In League Play: Butler enters Thursday’s game with a 5-0 mark in Horizon League play. #21/15 Green Bay, the nation’s top-ranked mid-major team, is the only other undefeated league team at 6-0. BU’s 5-0 start is the team’s best since two years ago, when the Dawgs started 7-0 in league play.
2. Dawgs In Chicago: Butler has won seven of its last eight games in the Windy City, dating back to 2007. BU trounced Loyola in the Gentile Center, 73-46, in the season finale last season. Brittany Bowen scored 14 points and Chloe Hamilton had 12. The Bulldogs have won the past six meetings at Loyola, and Beth Couture is 6-2 in the Gentile Center.
3. On The Boards: Butler has been dominating the glass recently, having out-rebounded all six league opponents to date. Led by Brittany Bowen’s 14 rebounds, BU was +10 in rebounding against Loyola on Thursday night. Back on Jan. 8, Butler out-rebounded Detroit 43-19 in a 72-66 win. The Bulldogs have been +10 or better on the glass six times this season.
4. 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 three seasons previous to this year.
5. Closing 2010: The Bulldogs finished the 2010 calendar year with a record of 22-12, the most wins in a calendar year since the team won 23 games in 1998. The total of 22 wins is tied for fifth most in school history. The school record for wins in a calendar year is 25, set in 1981. BU went 21-10 in the 2009 calendar year.
Butler-UIC Series: Butler is 25-18 all-time vs. the Flames, including a 10-9 mark against UIC in Chicago. The two teams split a pair of meetings last season, with the road team winning each game. Beth Couture is 9-9 against UIC.
Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 140 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.
...And She’s Chasing 400: Beth Couture owns 398 career wins in her head coaching career. Only 48 other coaches in all of NCAA basketball have 400 career victories. Couture entered the season 49th among active coaches in wins.
In League Play: Butler is near the top in most of the league-only statistical categories. In league play, the Bulldogs are the HL’s top 3-point shooting team in league play (.374) and rebounding team (+9.8). BU is second in the HL in scoring (71.3) and margin of victory (+10.2).
Senior Surge: During the holiday break, Beth Couture challenged her seniors to step up on and off the court. The group has responded with increased production. Brittany Bowen is averaging 15.0 points and 8.2 rebounds over the last five games. Chloe Hamilton is averaging 14.4 points and 9.8 boards while Alyssa Pittman is scoring 15.0 points during that span. Azjah Bass (4.7 ppg) has also had her best games recently.
Seniors vs. Loyola: Butler’s seniors led the way to victory Thursday night, with Alyssa Pittman scoring 19 points (12 in the second half). Brittany Bowen had 13 points and 14 rebounds and Chloe Hamilton had 16 points despite missing extended minutes in foul trouble.
Who’s Out There First?: Butler has been able to employ many different starting lineups this season due the versatility of the players as well as the team’s depth. The Bulldogs have started three different post players and sometimes have chosen to play a smaller, faster lineup with Brittany Bowen at the ‘4’ and Chloe Hamilton at the ‘5’. Beth Couture has used nine different starting lineups through 18 games, including seven different lineups once.
Chicago-Style Dawgs: BU has won its last seven games in the Windy City, having not lost since a 76-70 setback at UIC in 2007. In all, Butler has won nine of its last 11 in Chicago.
Shooting To Remember: Butler’s 88-69 win over Youngstown State was an offensive performance for the ages. The Dawgs shot .615 from the floor (32-for-52), which was the team’s best effort since a .625 shooting night against Wright State in 1998. It was the best single-game shooting performance under head coach Beth Couture.
...And From The 3: Led by Alyssa Pittman’s six 3-pointers, BU sank 14 of 23 (.609) from beyond the arc. The 14 treys was tied for second and one shy of the school record set in 2007.
Bowen Is Scoring: Brittany Bowen, who is averaging 15.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in Horizon League play, is seventh in the league averaging 15.6 points this season. In addition to scoring 30 against Indiana State on Dec. 4, the 5-10 senior has six outings with 19 points or more this season. She also has posted two 25-point performances prior to this season.
Sharpshooter: Brittany Bowen is arguably one of the best shooters in the Horizon League. The 5-10 senior is the league leader in 3-point percentage (.414) and she is the only player in the HL in the top 7 in field goal percentage (7th), 3-point percentage (1st) and free throw percentage (3rd).
Bowen Nationally: In the most recent NCAA stats, Brittany Bowen rates 37th in the nation in free throw percentage. She also stands tied for 70th in the country in field goal shooting (.495). Had she had enough attempts, Bowen would stand 13th in the nation in 3-point percentage (.462).
New Year’s Resolution = Defense: After BU’s 12-game non-conference slate, the Bulldogs stood last in the HL in points allowed (69.6) and field goal percentage defense (.453). Since the first of the year, Butler has tightened up on defense, allowing just 61.2 points on .416 shooting. In its first two league games, Butler held Valpo (.321) and Wright State (.359) to the season’s two lowest shooting percentages.
Cobb Has Her Best Game: Jenna Cobb had the best game of her young Butler career against Cleveland State last week. The freshman scored 11 points on 4-for-7 shooting and sank a pair of 3-pointers. She also made two acrobatic lay-ups in addition to three assists and two steals. Her previous scoring high was six points.
Bowen Named HL Player of the Week: Brittany Bowen was named Horizon League Women’s Basketball Player of the Week on Jan. 10 after averaging 19.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in wins at Wright State and Detroit. She had 19 points and nine rebounds in BU’s win at Wright State on Jan. 6, and followed that with 19 points and eight boards at Detroit. It was the first time the 5-10 senior has captured the league’s weekly award.
1,200 Point Scorers: In Butler’s win over IUPUI in November, 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 1,203 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 1,219 for her career.
Chloe Solid At The ‘4’: Chloe Hamilton is having her best season, averaging 12.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. The 5-10 senior is just shy of a double-double average in league play (14.0 points, 9.8 rebounds). She had a career-high 14-rebound effort at Detroit on Jan. 8 and had 17 points and 12 rebounds vs. Cleveland State. Hamilton, who tallied a career-high 21 points vs. Coastal Carolina in December, has been a consistent scorer, notching double figures in 12 of Butler’s 17 games. She’s also been efficient, currently ranking second in the conference with a .573 shooting percentage.
...Hamilton Nationally: In the most recent NCAA stats, Chloe Hamilton stood 14th in the nation with a .571 field goal percentage. Horizon League leader Molly Fox (Wright State) is ranked third in the country (.646).
Injury Bug: Butler’s 6-0 Horizon League start has been amazing when you consider how hard the Bulldogs were hit by injuries. BU is without two starters, senior point guard Terra Burns (8.5 ppg, 4.8 apg) and freshman center Sarah Hamm (7.0 ppg). Burns was injured at Notre Dame and hasn’t played since, while Hamm suffered an ACL tear in her right knee against Valparaiso and is out for the year. Becca Bornhorst also missed several games due to injuries this year and Elizabeth Jennings was recently ill.
Young Post To Be Counted On: Sarah Hamm had emerged as an effective interior player before injuring her knee against Valparaiso. The 6-2 rookie was scoring 7.0 points per game. In her absence, Becca Bornhorst has had her workload increase. Bornhorst, a 6-1 sophomore, has started the last six games and averaging 6.5 points and 4.7 boards during that span. She scored a season-high 13 on 6-for-7 shooting vs. Youngstown State last weekend.
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 55-21 (.724) in league play since 2007.
After Halftime, Try Again: After 18 games, it seems Beth Couture’s halftime speeches make the Bulldogs shoot better. Butler is shooting .447 from the floor after halftime, compared to just .402 in the first 20 minutes. As a result, Butler is scoring 29.2 points per game in the first half compared to 38.4 points in the second half. BU’s scoring margin in the first halves of games is -1.2, compared to +3.8 in the second half.
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.
...St. Vincent Women Of Hope: Beth Couture is serving as honorary chairwoman for 2011 St. Vincent Woman of Hope. Each Woman of Hope participant pledges to raise or give $1,000 annually for the cancer cause of her choice. All funds raised by Woman of Hope benefit cancer programs and services at St.Vincent. A celebration and walk is scheduled for October 1 to honor the participants.
WBCA Pink Zone: Butler will host its annual WBCA Pink Zone game for breast cancer awareness Saturday, Feb. 5 against Wright State. The game will be sponsored by St. Vincent, and fans are encouraged to wear pink. Breast cancer survivors will be admitted free of charge. There will also be free pink ribbons and other breast cancer awareness programming.
BU Among Mid-Majors: 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, ranked in the top 20 nationally, has moved to No. 1. Beth Couture and Detroit’s Autumn Rademacher represent the Horizon League on the mid-major poll’s voting panel.
Devin Does The Little Things: Devin Brierly averages 5.2 points per game, sixth on the team. But her value is best measured outside of scoring. Brierly is an athletic, versatile wing who is counted on for perimeter defense and passing. She also is a heady player with the ball, sporting a 34:19 assist-to-turnover ratio. She is also shooting 28 for 33 (.848) at the free throw line, showing that she can be counted on to make key free throws at the ends of games.
Up Next: Following Saturday’s game at UIC, the Bulldogs will return to Hinkle Fieldhouse Thursday night for what could be a first-place showdown against Green Bay. The Phonix are ranked 15th in the most recent coaches poll and are atop the league standings with the Bulldogs.