Butler Takes On Wisconsin In WNIT First Round
2010-11 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler’s Top Storylines
1. In The Postseason Again: Wednesday’s game will be Butler’s third consecutive appearance in the WNIT. The Bulldogs, who have finished second in the Horizon League standings three straight seasons, advanced to the second round of the WNIT in 2009 with a win at Duquesne. Last season, Butler dropped its WNIT opener, 57-54, at Illinois State. This marks BU’s fifth appearance in the WNIT and sixth postseason appearance overall.
2. Another HL Title Trip: Last Sunday marked BU’s second straight appearance in the league championship game, the first time the Bulldogs have made it to the final two years in a row. Butler fell to Green Bay, 74-63, last weekend and lost to Cleveland State in the 2010 championship game, 66-57.
3. League Honors: Three Bulldogs - all seniors - brought home league awards for their play this season. Brittany Bowen and Chloe Hamilton were selected second team All-Horizon League this season, and Alyssa Pittman was voted as the Horizon League Sixth Player of the Year. Bowen, who was a preseason all-league pick the last two years, leads BU with 15.5 points per game. Hamilton scores 14.2 points and grabs a team-high 6.7 rebounds per game. Pittman, who came off the bench 23 times during the regular season, averages 11.8 points per game.
4. Chloe 6th In The Nation: Chloe Hamilton enters WNIT play ranked sixth in the country in field goal shooting at .592. The 5-10 senior is one of only seven Division I players shooting .580 or better. Hamilton’s field goal percentage also leads the Horizon League and her .602 mark in league-only games is also first in the conference.
5. A 4th Straight 20: Butler’s 68-54 victory over Cleveland State on March 11 gave the Bulldogs 20 wins for the fourth season in a row. That is a first for BU as a Division I program, and the 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.
Butler-Wisconsin Series: Butler and Wisconsin have met once in women’s basketball, a 61-46 Badger win on Nov. 29, 2003. That was in a Thanksgiving tournament in Beth Couture’s second season at Butler (Lisa Stone’s first at UW).
Butler All-Time In WNIT: Butler is 3-5 all-time in the WNIT. The Bulldogs defeated UNLV in 1993, Bowling Green in 1998 and Duquesne in 2009.
Back To Dairyland: This will be BU’s third trip to the state of Wisconsin in 20 days. The Bulldogs their Milwaukee-Green Bay swing the last weekend in February, then played in the Horizon League semifinal and final at Green Bay last weekend.
All-Tournament: Brittany Bowen turned in one of Butler’s great all-time performances in the Horizon League championship game this past Sunday. The 5-10 senior scored 34 points - with 24 coming in the second half - in a 74-63 loss to #13/11 Green Bay. She also had seven rebounds and a career-high five steals. For her effort, Bowen was named to the all-tournament team along. She was the only non-Green Bay player honored.
Bowen Scores 1400: Brittany Bowen’s 13 points vs. CSU brought her to 1,413 for her Butler career. Bowen, who is sixth on BU’s all-time scoring list, is one of six players to score 1,400 points at Butler. Bowen and Alyssa Pittman (1,383 points) make Butler one of just two Horizon League schools with two active 1,300-point scorers. Green Bay is the other.
Looking For Big Ten Win: Butler has dropped its last 12 contests against Big Ten opponents, and the Bulldogs are 3-15 against Big Ten teams since 1989. BU’s last win against a school from the Big Ten Conference came against Illinois in 1998.
A Familiar Face: Butler’s Alyssa Pittman may recognize one face on the Wisconsin side Wednesday night. UW freshman Jada Buggs, like Pittman, is from Elkhart, Ind., and attended Memorial High School. Pittman is four years older than Buggs, missing out on a chance to be teammates by one year.
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 Sunday’s game with 83 wins, fourth most in school history. This senior class is 83-45 over the last four years, and 43-23 since Alyssa Pittman became eligible after transferring to Butler.
Getting Defensive: Wisconsin is known for its defense, but the Bulldogs enter Wednesday’s game having played some solid defense themselves in recent games. Butler has allowed just 53.2 points per game on .332 shooting. On March 5, BU held Valpo to 47 points and .264 shooting and then Detroit managed just 38 points on .245 shooting in the quarterfinal on March 9. Butler then held Cleveland State to 54 points in the league semifinal on March 11.
More On Bowen Scoring: Brittany Bowen, the team’s leading scorer with 15.9 points a game, ranks sixth in the Horizon League in scoring. In addition to having three 30-point games (vs. Indiana State, at Cleveland State and at Green Bay), the 5-10 senior has 27 outings with 12 points or more this season. She has also scored 19 points or more nine times. Prior to this season, she had posted two 25-point performances.
Senior Surge: Eight games ago, Beth Couture decided to juggle the starting lineup and the change paid off. Butler is 5-3 since Couture moved Alyssa Pittman and Azjah Bass permanently into the starting lineup. Over the last eight games, the Bulldogs have been carried by the scoring of Brittany Bowen, Chloe Hamilton and Alyssa Pittman. Bowen is scoring 16.6 points per game during that span while shooting .531 from 3-point range. Pittman is scoring 13.8 per contest and Hamilton is adding 13.6 and 5.8 rebounds. The trio has combined to score 68 percent of BU’s points while shooting .823 at the foul line.
Sharpshooter: Bowen, one of the league’s leading scorers, is also one of the most efficient scorers in the league. The Columbus, Ind., native stands third in the Horizon League in free throw percentage (.867), third in 3-point percentage (.405) and eighth in field goal percentage (.470). Historically, she currently appears on Butler’s all-time list for free throw percentage (3rd) and 3-point percentage (3rd).
Pair of 34s: In addition to Brittany Bowen’s 34-point outburst in the league championship game, Chloe Hamilton also posted a night with 34 points this season. The 5-10 forward scored 34 at Youngstown State on Feb. 10. The 34-point totals for Bowen and Hamilton are not only three points shy of the school record but are tied for the highest output by a Butler player since Sarah Bolten in 2001.Three players in the Horizon League - UWM’s Courtney Lindfors, WSU’s LaShawna Thomas and YSU’s Brandi Brown - scored 35 in a game this season.
Chloe’s Sweet 16: Chloe Hamilton, Butler’s second-leading scorer at 14.3 points per game, had a stretch earlier this season where she converted on 16 straight field goal attempts over a span of three games. The bulk of her impressive streak came in an 11-for-11 performance against Green Bay on Jan. 27. She hit her last shot at UIC on Jan. 22 and followed that with 11 in a row vs. Green Bay. She hit her first four shots against Milwaukee on Jan. 29 before missing.
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.
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 has had some of her best games since taking over the starting spot. She had a five-game stretch in February where she had 27 assists against 11 turnovers while scoring 5.8 points per game. Bass has started 15 games this season.
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.
400: Butler’s win against Milwaukee on Jan. 29 was victory No. 400 for Beth Couture. The 9th-year Bulldog coach now owns 406 career wins, including 148 at Butler. Couture has the most women’s basketball wins in Butler history. Only 48 other active NCAA coaches have 400 career victories.
100 Starts For Bowen: Butler’s Feb. 19 game vs. Loyola, which was the team’s Senior Day, was the 100th career start for Brittany Bowen at Butler. After 106 starts, the Bulldogs are now 68-38 in games in which Bowen takes the floor first.
Injury Bug: Butler placing 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 and knocked out for the year at Notre Dame, while Hamm suffered an ACL tear in her right knee against Valparaiso and is also out for the season.
...And Injuries Caused Many Starting Lineups: Perhaps due to losing two starters to injury during the first half of the season, Butler has used 13 different starting lineups in 33 games this season. Beth Couture has started six groups one time each and two other starting units have been used twice.
Pittman’s Production: Alyssa Pittman, who was named sixth player of the year by the Horizon League, is capable of scoring in bunches. The 5-9 senior has four games with 18 points or more in the last eight contests. Pittman scored 23 in a win over UIC, had 25 at Milwaukee on Feb. 24 at Milwaukee and she scored 22 in the league semifinal against Cleveland State.
Small Ball: The Bulldogs admittedly aren’t the tallest team in the country, but a mix of pushing the ball in transition and switching defenses has made playing with a small lineup effective this season. Butler’s starting five includes no player taller than 5-10. BU sometimes will end up with five guards on the floor, putting 5-10 Brittany Bowen in the post with four other perimeter players around her. Of BU’s nine players who play double-digit minutes, only three are taller than 5-9. Only one (6-1 Becca Bornhorst) is taller than 5-10.
4 For 30: Chloe Hamilton and Brittany Bowen have combined for four 30-point performances this season, the most in a single season in Butler women’s basketball history. Bowen dropped 30 vs. Indiana State in December, 31 against Cleveland State in February and 34 at Green Bay last Sunday. Hamilton had 34 points at Youngstown State on Feb. 10. 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.
Simple...Just Make Shots: Sometimes the difference between winning and losing is simple. In its 20 victories, Butler is shooting .456 from the floor and scoring 71.7 points per game. In 13 losses, BU is shooting .367 and scoring 61.2 points per game. Butler is 18-0 when shooting a better percentage than its opponent and 2-13 when shooting worse.
Bulldogs Nationally: In addition to Chloe Hamilton ranking fifth in the country in field goal percentage, Brittany Bowen can be found in the most recent NCAA stats. Bowen ranks 21st in the nation in free throw percentage (.867) and 84th in field goal percentage (.470). As a team, the Bulldogs are 37th in free throw shooting, 50th in assists, 56th in assist-to-turnover ratio, 66th in field goal shooting and 88th in scoring offense.
Up Next: The Butler-Wisconsin winner gets the winner of Illinois State and Central Michigan in the WNIT’s second round. BU played Illinois State last year, falling 57-54.