February 23, 2011

Bulldogs Travel To Milwaukee Thursday

2010-11 Butler Women's Basketball

Butler (17-10, 11-4) at Milwaukee (9-16, 5-8)
Thursday, Feb. 24 - 8 p.m. ET
Klotsche Center - Milwaukee, Wis.
Live Video  |   Live Stats  |   Game Notes   |   Coach Couture Interview

Bulldogs Take On Milwaukee Thursday Night

The Butler women’s basketball team, now 11-4 in Horizon League play, can inch closer to the No. 2 overall seed in the league with a win Thursday night at Milwaukee. The Bulldogs are 1.5 games ahead of Wright State for the runner-up spot in the standings.

The Starting 5 - Butler’s Top Storylines

1. The Race For No. 2: Butler, which has posted a 14-4 mark and finished second in the league in each of the past two seasons, currently leads Wright State for the No. 2 spot in the league standings. Not only does the league runner-up get the second seed in the Horizon League Women’s Basketball Championship, but it can also earn an automatic bid into the WNIT. The Bulldogs (11-4) are 1.5 games ahead of Wright State (9-5) and 2.0 games better than Cleveland State for the second spot.

2. 80 Wins For 2011 Class: Butler’s group of five seniors (Alyssa Pittman was a transfer) has been one of the most successful classes in school history. Azjah Bass, Brittany Bowen, Terra Burns, Chloe Hamilton and Pittman enter the weekend with 80 wins, the fourth most victories in school history. This year’s senior class has won more games than any of Beth Couture’s previous senior groups, and the 2011 Bulldogs can still reach third in school history (84 wins, 1998).

3. 2 For 30: Chloe Hamilton and Brittany Bowen have combined to do something that has happened just once in Butler women’s basketball history. The senior duo has combined for three 30-point scoring performances this season. Bowen dropped 30 vs. Indiana State and 31 against Cleveland State. Hamilton had 34 points at Youngstown State. The only other time the Bulldogs have had three 30-point performances in the same season was 1990, when Julie VonDielingen had two and Nikki Anderson had one.

4. Chloe 7th In The Nation: Chloe Hamilton enters Saturday’s playranked seventh in the country in field goal shooting at .586. The 5-10 senior is one of only 10 Division I players shooting .580 or better. Hamilton’s field goal percentage also leads the Horizon League.

5. Players Of The Week: Brittany Bowen and Chloe Hamilton have each been tabbed Horizon League Player of the Week this season. Hamilton garnered the honor on Jan. 24 for her efforts at Loyola and UIC, when she averaged 21.5 points in a pair of BU wins. Bowen was selected as player of the week on Jan. 10 after averaging 19.0 points per game in road wins at Wright State and Detroit.

 

Butler-Milwaukee Series: The all-time series between Milwaukee and Butler is tied 18-18. The Bulldogs, who have won three straight and four of five against the Panthers, are 7-3 against UWM since 2007. Beth Couture is 9-10 vs. Milwaukee in her career.

...Last Time vs. Milwaukee: Devin Brierly scored a career-high 19 points and Alyssa Pittman and Chloe Hamilton each had 15 as BU defeated UWM, 72-64, back on Jan. 29. The Bulldogs led by 10 at halftime and Milwaukee never got closer than 54-48. BU led by 17 early in the second half.

More On The 2011 Class: This year’s senior class enters Thursday evening game with 80 wins. This senior class is 80-42 over the last four years, and 40-20 since Alyssa Pittman became eligible after transferring to Butler.

Azjah Makes Her Point: After providing a much-needed spark off the bench for most of the season, Azjah Bass has climbed into the starting lineup at point guard. The senior point guard is averaging 5.0 points and 6.3 assists over the past four games. The 5-7 senior also has a 2.5:1 assist-to-turnover ratio over the last four contests. Bass has started nine games this season. 

100 Starts For Bowen: Last Saturday’s game vs. Loyola was the 100th career start for Brittany Bowen at Butler. The Bulldogs are 65-35 in games in which she takes the floor first.  

New Lineup: Beth Couture decided to juggle the starting lineup for Butler’s games against the Chicago schools last weekend, and the change definitely paid off. With Alyssa Pittman making her third and fourth starts this season, Butler jumped all over UIC and Loyola early to win both games handily. Against UIC, the Bulldogs made 10 made 3-pointers in the first half, led by 20 at halftime and cruised to a blowout win. The Bulldogs then built a 22-4 lead vs. Loyola en route to a victory.

...Add It To The Many Starting Lineups: Butler has used 12 different starting lineups in 27 games this season, including five groups one time. Two other starting lineups have been used twice.

...Paid Off For Pittman: The starting lineup change lit a fire under Alyssa Pittman, who tied her Butler high with 23 points on 9-for-17 shooting against UIC. The 5-9 senior grabbed seven rebounds and dished five assists, one of her best all-around games as a Bulldog. For the weekend, Pittman averaged 14.0 points and 6.0 rebounds while making five 3-pointers.

More On 34: Chloe Hamilton’s 34-point outburst at Youngstown State was one for the ages. Not only was it three points short of the school single-game record, but it was the highest output by a Butler player since 2001 when Sarah Bolten tied the school record with 37 points. Two players - UWM’s Courtney Lindfors and WSU’s LaShawna Thomas - have scored 35 in a game this season.

Sweet 16: In late January, Chloe Hamilton posted a stretch of 16 consecutive made shots, a streak that covered three games. She converted her last attempt on Jan. 22 at UIC, then shot 11 for 11 against Green Bay on Jan. 27. Hamilton made her first four shots against Milwaukee two days later before missing. 

400: Butler’s win against Milwaukee on Jan. 29 was victory No. 400 for Beth Couture. The 9th-year Bulldog coach now owns 403 career wins, including 145 at Butler. Couture has the most women’s basketball wins in Butler history. Only 48 other active NCAA coaches have 400 career victories.

Bulldogs Bombs Away: A big part of Butler’s success last weekend was its long-range shooting, when the Dawgs made 23 3-point baskets over two games. Butler blew out UIC last Thursday while making 12 of 20 (.600) from beyond the arc. Two days later, the Bulldogs buried 11 treys against Loyola. Butler’s best long-range shooting came when the Bulldogs buried 14 of 24 (.609) treys vs. Youngstown State on Jan. 15.

Moving The Ball: Butler has registered 20+ assists six times this season, with three coming in the last five games. BU had 20 helpers on 24 field goals at YSU on Feb. 10 and had 20 on 30 field goals vs. UIC. The Bulldogs then added 24 assists on their 26 field goals last Saturday vs. Loyola. 

Standing Out In Ohio: BU’s trip to Ohio two weeks ago featured two outstanding scoring performances.  Chloe Hamilton scored 34 at Youngstown State on Feb. 10 and Brittany Bowen had 31 and 11 boards at Cleveland State on Feb 12. BU split the two games, dominating YSU before falling in the final minute at CSU.

Claire’s Big Shot: Claire Freeman, who hit a game-winning shot to win a state championship in high school, made a game-winner in Butler’s win at Milwaukee last year. The 5-9 sophomore hit a jumper from the top of the key with 0.6 seconds left to help BU to a 71-70 win. 

More On 11 For 11: Chloe Hamilton’s 11-for-11 shooting night against Green Bay was the third time in school history a Bulldog player took eight shots or more and made them all. In addition to Alexis Proffitt’s 13 for 13 (2/6/97), Kelly Kuhn went 8 for 8 against Wright State (2/20/99).

Freshman Contribution: Freshman Mandy McDivitt, known for her 3-point shooting off the bench, showed last weekend she can be effective passing the ball. McDivitt tallied six assists against one turnover in BU’s two victories. She also hit four 3-pointers and scored six points in each game.

Get Back On The Boards: Butler, owning an 11-4 record in Horizon League play, is also 11-4 in rebounding against league opponents. BU out-rebounded its first eight league opponents before losing the boards battle in three straight games against Milwaukee, Detroit and Wright State. After out-boarding UIC 43-40, Butler posted a commanding rebounding advantage against Loyola (41-26). The Bulldogs have been +10 or better on the glass eight times this season.

A 4th Straight 20: Butler needs three more wins to reach 20 victories for the fourth season in a row. That would be a first for BU as a Division I program, and second time in school history. The Bulldogs had four 20-win seasons in a row from 1978-82. This group 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. 

Bowen Is Scoring: Brittany Bowen, who is averaging 15.6 points and 6.9 rebounds in Horizon League play, is fifth overall in the league averaging 15.6 points this season. In addition to having a pair of 30-point games, the 5-10 senior has 22 outings with 12 points or more this season. She has also scored 19 points or more seven times. Prior to this season, she posted two 25-point performances. She is also statistically one of the most efficient scorers in the league, ranking third in the Horizon League in free throw percentage (.864) and fourth in 3-point percentage (.385). 

Bulldogs Nationally: In addition to Chloe Hamilton ranking seventh in the country in field goal percentage, Brittany Bowen can be found in the most recent NCAA stats. Bowen ranks 24th in the nation in free throw percentage (.864) and 100th in field goal percentage (.463). As a team, the Bulldogs are 37th in assists, 42nd in free throw shooting, 43rd in assist-to-turnover ratio, 65th in field goal shooting and and 75th in scoring.

1,300 Point Scorers: Butler and Green Bay the only teams in the Horizon League with two active 1,300-point scorers. Brittany Bowen and Alyssa Pittman have each crossed that mark this season for the Bulldogs. Bowen now has 1,344 points as a Bulldog (8th all-time), and Pittman, who crossed the 1,000-point mark last season, has 1,311 for her career. She scored 715 points in two seasons at Eastern Michigan. 

Conference Wins Record: With three games to play, Butler can still tie the school record for conference wins in a season. BU has set a school record with 14 league victories in each of the past two seasons. The Bulldogs have posted back-to-back 14-4 conference seasons, tied for the 1993 Bulldog team that won 14 MCC games.

Couture’s Cause: When not patrolling the Butler sideline, Beth Couture has spent her time in the battle against breast cancer. Couture, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 2009, rushed through treatments to make it on the sidelines for the start of the 2009-10 season. Couture has been cancer-free for more than a year and has participated in several awareness events. She walked 38 miles over a two-day span for St. Vincent’s Weekend To End Breast Cancer during the fall. She is also the honorary chairwoman for 2011 St. Vincent Woman of Hope, a breast cancer awareness group. Each Woman of Hope participant pledges to raise or give $1,000 annually for the cancer cause of her choice. 

Career Record Watch: As they approach the final weeks of their collegiate careers, Brittany Bowen, Chloe Hamilton and Alyssa Pittman continue to climb Butler’s career record books. Bowen moved into eighth on BU’s all-time scoring list and is just 31 points shy of seventh in school history. Her current marks in 3-point percentage (.393, 8th) and free throw shooting (.831, 3rd) would land her in the school’s top 10. Additionally, Hamilton is currently fourth all-time in field goal percentage (.548) while Pittman is on the chart for 3-pointers made (111, 8th) and attempted (360, 6th).

Injury Bug: Butler standing second in the Horizon League this season has been amazing when you consider how hard the Bulldogs were hit by injuries. BU is without two players who started the first half of the year in 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. 

Devin Scoring More: Devin Brierly, a career 4.4 scorer, is averaging 10.4 points over the last five games. She has four double-digit scoring efforts over the last seven games. Brierly scored a career-high 19 points in BU’s win over Milwaukee on Jan. 29 , 16 at Cleveland State and a pair of 12-point games. However, it’s not the scoring column where her value is best measured. Brierly is an athletic, versatile wing who is counted on for perimeter defense and passing. She also takes care of the ball, sporting a 1.26 assist-to-turnover ratio. She is also shooting .842 at the free throw line, good for second on the team.

Up Next: Following Butler’s game at Milwaukee, the Bulldogs will play league-leading and nationally-ranked Green Bay Saturday afternoon. Butler will then have one game remaining on the schedule, at Valparaiso Saturday, March 5.