Bulldogs Host Saint Louis In Home Opener
2010-11 Butler Women's Basketball
Bulldogs Host Saint Louis In Home Opener
The Butler women’s basketball team will host Saint Louis in the 2010-11 home opener Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. BU won at SLU last season, en route to winning 23 games and advancing to the postseason.
The Starting 5 - Butler’s Top Storylines
1. 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 went 63-32 during the last three seasons.
2. Butler Returns 4 Starters: Four primary starters return from last year’s 23-10 team - seniors Terra Burns (6.6 ppg), Brittany Bowen (11.2) and Chloe Hamilton (7.4 ppg) and junior Devin Brierly (4.0 ppg). Sophomore guard Claire Freeman started 15 times last season and senior Alyssa Pittman started seven games.
3. Back-To-Back WNIT Berths: The Bulldogs have played in the postseason in each of the past two seasons, earning the Horizon League’s automatic berth into the WNIT twice. In 2009, BU won 20 games and advanced to the WNIT second round, defeating Duquesne and losing to Marquette. Last season, Butler won 23 games before falling 57-54 at Illinois State in the first round.
4. New Names In The Post: This season, Butler is served with the task of replacing two of the best post players the team has had in 2010 grads Melanie Thornton and Susan Lester. Thornton was Horizon League Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year last season, averaging 15.7 points per game. Lester finished her career with 1,275 points and 781 rebounds. Senior forward Chloe Hamilton and several young players - Becca Bornhorst, Sarah Hamm, Dragana Grbic - will be counted on for production in the post.
5. Bowen Closing In On 1,000 Points: Brittany Bowen enters Wednesday’s game with 935 career points, needing 65 more to become the 21st player to score 1,000 points at Butler. Additionally, Alyssa Pittman crossed the 1,000-point mark late last season. She scored 715 points in her two seasons at Eastern Michigan.
36th Season Of Hoops: The 2010-11 season is Butler’s 36th as a varsity program. BU is 507-406 (.555) all-time, including a 128-114 mark under ninth-year head coach Beth Couture.
...36th Season Opener: Butler is 17-18 all-time in home openers, including a 5-3 mark under Beth Couture. BU has won three of its past four home debuts.
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 get to the league tourney final. No. 4 seed Cleveland State knocked off the Bulldogs, 66-57, in the championship game.
Three 09-10 Postseason Teams: After CSU’s run of upsets got them into the NCAA tourney, Green Bay appeared to have an automatic WNIT bid but was awarded an NCAA at-large bid. It was the first NCAA at-large bid in Horizon League history. That gave the league’s automatic WNIT spot to the Bulldogs, making it three teams from the Horizon League in postseason play.
Cold Start: Butler didn’t have the best start to the season, shooting 5-for-35 for just 16 points in the first half against Bradley. BU ended up shooting .281 for the game.
Bowen Back: Butler’s returning leading scorer is senior Brittany Bowen, who averaged 11.2 points per game last season. Bowen had 19 double-digit efforts, including a season-high 25 points at Cincinnati last December. She led the team in scoring six times last season and is a preseason second team All-Horizon League pick for the second straight year. She scored 12 in Saturday’s loss at Bradley.
Butler vs. SLU: Butler and Saint Louis used to be conference foes, as SLU was in the MCC (now Horizon League) from 1986-91. BU is 7-5 all-time against the Billikens, including a five-game win streak that dates back to 1989.
Last Year’s Meeting: BU defeated SLU, 69-57, last season in St. Louis. Alyssa Pittman had 13 points and Brittany Bowen added 11 for the Bulldogs, who outscored SLU 18-7 over the final 6:35 of the game.
Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 128 victories at Butler, sits alone atop BU’s all-time women’s basketball wins list. Couture last season passed Linda Mason, who coached at BU from 1976-84 and won 124 games. The record-breaking victory came at UIC on March 4 of last season.
Free Is Good: One bright spot for Butler in the loss at Bradley was free throw shooting. BU converted 21 of its 25 free throw attempts, including a 17-for-19 effort in the second half. Brittany Bowen went 6-for-6 to lead the way.
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 ranked in the top 6 in the Horizon League in seven different categories (see page 4). 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.
Home Sweet Hinkle: Butler posted a 12-2 record at Hinkle Fieldhouse last season. BU went 4-0 at home in non-conference play, 7-2 vs. league teams and won a quarterfinal game at Hinkle in the HL tourney. Butler is 22-6 at home over the past two seasons. When combined with the nationally-ranked men’s team, Butler basketball was 27-2 in Hinkle Fieldhouse in 2009-10.
Chloe Solid At The ‘4’: Chloe Hamilton led BU in scoring at Bradley, tallying 13 points on 5-for-11 shooting. She also added three assists. Hamilton burst into the starting lineup last season, averaging 7.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. She averaged 8.7 points a game during league play.
All-Tournament 2010: Melanie Thornton and Susan Lester were each selected for the 2010 Horizon League Championship All-Tournament Team. Over three games last March, Lester had 16.0 points and 6.7 rebounds a game while Thornton averaged 12.7 and 10.7.
Here’s A Stat To Watch: Saint Louis has played two games, Butler has played one, and neither team has had a high-percentage outing from 3-point range. BU went 6-for-25 (.240) from beyond the arc at Bradley. SLU is 4-for-20 (.200) after games against Wisconsin and Morgan State.
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. League rival Green Bay was ranked second in the preseason poll, while Gonzaga was voted the top team. Beth Couture and Detroit’s Autumn Rademacher represent the Horizon League on the mid-major poll.
All ‘O’ Board: Butler did not start a player taller than 5-10 last Saturday at Bradley. That didn’t stop the Dawgs from being all over the offensive boards, as BU pulled in 19 offensive rebounds. Brittany Bowen had five offensive rebounds to lead the team, while Chloe Hamilton and Alyssa Pittman each hauled in three.
BU vs. The A-10: Butler has gone 1-1 against Atlantic-10 opponents in each of the past two seasons. BU defeated Saint Louis but lost at Dayton last season. In 2008-09, Butler picked up a WNIT win at Duquesne and lost to Dayton at home.
X-Factor: Rebounding. Butler has been spending a lot of time experimenting wtih faster, smaller lineups. Conversely, SLU has four players 6-2 or taller, and six Billikens are at least 6-0. Saint Louis grabbed 50 rebounds Sunday against Morgan State. Butler will need to keep SLU off the glass and shoot a stellar percentage to off-set Saint Louis’ size advantage.
Up Next: Butler will host Division II team Ohio Dominican Saturday, Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. The BU men’s basketball team plays at Hinkle the same day vs. Ball State at 2 p.m.
Bulldogs Add 4 Local Standouts In Early Signing Period
The Butler women’s basketball program has added four local standouts during the early signing period. Hannah Douglas, Haley Howard, Jessika Lark and Amanda Raker have signed National Letters of Intent and will join the Bulldogs in the fall of 2011.
Douglas is a 5-9 guard who averaged 13.0 points and 4.5 rebounds a game last year at Pendleton Heights High School. She was named Anderson Herald Bulletin Player of the Year last season after sharing the honor with a teammate in 2009. The 5-9 guard was an Indiana Junior All-Star last spring and was recently named one of the top seniors in the greater Indianapolis area by the Indy Star.
Howard is a 6-0 wing player who averaged 14.7 points and 5.7 rebounds last season while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 83 percent at the free throw line for Whiteland High School. She was an Indiana Junior All-Star last year while being named first team all-conference and all-county. She was also on the state’s Top 100 list. Howard has been an All-Johnson County honoree in each of her three seasons and All-Mid State Conference during the past two years. Her high school coach at Whiteland is Bill Hogue.
Lark is an athletic forward attending Pendleton Heights this year after transferring from Anderson Highland High School. Coach Couture says the 5-9 Lark is a well-coached player whose game resembles that of current Bulldog senior Chloe Hamilton.
Raker is a 6-0 forward from Perry Meridian High School on Indy’s south side. She averaged 13.0 points and 7.5 rebounds during her junior season, capturing all-county and all-conference honors. Raker, who played in the Indiana Junior All-Star Classic, has been a three-year starter for the Falcons for coach Mike Armstrong. She led her AAU team, Indiana Explosion, to a title at one of the nation’s top summer events, the Deep South Tournament at the University of North Carolina. Her AAU team was coached by Lee Larkins. Raker is also a volleyball standout, having been named IVCA All-State this fall. Academically, she’s in the top 11 percent of her class and is on the A Honor Roll at Perry Meridian. Her father, Gary Raker, played men’s basketball at Butler from 1978-80.