2010-11 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler’s Top Storylines
1. Renewing Annual Rivalry: Butler and Indiana State have played some close games in recent years, and the series has become a top match-up among Indiana schools. The road team has won each of the past two meetings. ISU came to Hinkle in December 2008 and picked up a 66-63 despite 18 points from Brittany Bowen. Last year, Butler returned the favor with a 67-60 win in Terre Haute. Alyssa Pittman led BU with 16 points.
2. Bowen Reaches 1,000 Points: With six points in last weekend’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 1,019 points as a Bulldog. Additionally, Alyssa Pittman crossed the 1,000-point mark late last season. She scored 715 points in her two seasons at Eastern Michigan and now has 1,050 for her career.
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 went 63-32 during the last three seasons.
4. 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.
5. Butler-ISU Coaching Connection: Indiana State’s Teri Moren is in her first year at the helm of the Sycamores. Moren, a Purdue grad, was an assistant at Butler under June Olkowski from 1993-99. She then left BU when Olkowski took the head coaching position at Northwestern. Another connection is current Butler associate head coach Amy Cherubini was on Moren’s staff at the University of Indianapolis.
Home Sweet Hinkle: Butler posted a 12-2 record at Hinkle Fieldhouse last season and has picked up where it left off this year by starting 2-0. Butler is 24-6 at home since 2008, including a 9-2 mark against non-conference teams. The Bulldogs are 33-11 (.750) at Hinkle since the beginning of the 2007-08 season.
During The Holiday: Butler is coming off its first three-game Thanksgiving event since 1997, having gone 1-2 at the WBCA Classic at Notre Dame. BU has played in two-game events every Thanksgiving since Beth Couture came to Butler in 2002. BU has claimed some important wins during the holiday, including winning the 2004 Saint Louis Thanksgiving Classic. Butler has defeated Chattanooga (2003), and also won at Miami (Fla.) (2007).
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.
Bowen Is Scoring: Brittany Bowen is averaging a team-best 16.0 points this season. The 5-10 senior had a career-high 26 points twice this season. Bowen went for 26 on 8-for-12 shooting against Saint Louis, and she shot 9-for-15 against Wake Forest.
Butler-Indiana State Series: Saturday’s contest will be the 21st meeting of the series, with Butler leading 11-9. Having split the last two meetings, Butler is 2-3 against ISU under Beth Couture.
...No Luna This Time: Butler will be happy to see ISU’s Kelsey Luna has graduated. The former Sycamore guard scored 26 points in each of the last two meetings. BU led ISU by 10 with 1:41 to play last year, and Luna scored 12 points during that span to make the game much closer than it really was.
Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 131 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.
Bowen At The Free Throw Line: Brittany Bowen, a career .831 free throw shooter, is off to a perfect start at the line this season. Bowen is 20-for-20 from the stripe in the season’s six games, including 6-for-6 at Bradley and 8-for-8 against Saint Louis. She is leading the Horizon League in free throw percentage.
...FT Shooting As A Team: In addition to Bowen’s prowess, the Bulldogs as a team have been solid at the line so far this season. Butler currently stands fourth in the league in FT shooting at .765, including a 21-for-25 effort at Bradley. Milwaukee (.811) is the league leader.
Chloe Solid At The ‘4’: Chloe Hamilton has had a nice start to her senior year, averaging 14.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. The 5-10 senior has been a consistent scorer, tallying double figures in each of BU’s six games. She led the team in scoring at Bradley (13) and against Ohio Dominican (14) before scoring 49 points in Butler’s three games at Notre Dame. 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. She averaged 8.7 points a game during league play last year.
...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. 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 ranked in the top 6 in the Horizon League in seven different categories. She 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.
Hamm Learning Quickly: Freshman center Sarah Hamm has emerged as an effective interior player. The 6-2 rookie is averaging 4.8 points and 1.5 steals per game. In her first two starts, she averaged 10.5 points and 2.0 rejections per game in a pair of Butler victories. She scored 11 points against Saint Louis and added 10 points and six rebounds against Ohio Dominican. She also started the Wake Forest and Notre Dame games at the WBCA Classic.
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.
Burns Doing It All: Terra Burns, Butler’s starting point guard, has been doing a little bit of everything this season. In addition to averaging 8.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, she is tied for second in the Horizon League with 4.8 assist per outing. The 5-8 senior had 14 points at Notre Dame last weekend.
Dawgs Eating Up Indiana: Butler is 10-3 in its last 13 games against in-state opponents. The Bulldogs are 1-1 this season, with a win over IUPUI and a loss to Notre Dame. Dating back to the 2007-08 season, BU is 16-5 against Indiana schools.
After Halftime, Try Again: After six games, it seems Beth Couture’s halftime speeches make the Bulldogs shoot better. Butler is shooting .420 from the field after halftime, compared to just .352 in the first 20 minutes. Also, BU is better at the free throw line in the second halves of games. Butler is converting foul shots at a .679 rate in the first half, compared to .793 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.
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 6-0 start with wins over three Big Ten teams, has moved to No. 1. CSU has climbed to No. 23 in the poll. Beth Couture and Detroit’s Autumn Rademacher represent the Horizon League on the mid-major poll.
All ‘O’ Board: Playing just two players taller than 5-10 hasn’t stopped Butler from being aggressive on the offensive boards. BU is averaging a league-best 15.2 offensive rebounds a game. BU leads the conference in offensive rebounding percentage, hauling in 38 percent of its missed shots. Butler has grabbed at least 11 offensive rebounds in each game this season. BU had a season-high 19 offensive rebounds at Bradley, 16 vs. Ohio Dominican and at Notre Dame and 15 against Wake Forest. Chloe Hamilton (18), Brittany Bowen (16) and Sarah Hamm (10) lead the team in offensive rebounds.
Here’s A Stat To Watch: Offensive rebounding. Butler leads the Horizon League in offensive rebounds, but Indiana has the size to neutralize BU’s aggressiveness on the boards. Despite having five players 6-1 or taller, the Sycamores have been beaten on the offensive glass by a slim margin this season (14.0-13.0). Butler will want to hit the boards hard and create extra possessions.
X-Factor: Pace of play. The Bulldogs and Sycamores have each played six games, and BU has played at a much faster pace. Butler is taking nine more shots per game, and BU games involve 16.4 more points per game. A high-scoring game may favor the Bulldogs, who have been proficient in running their primary fast-break offense this season.
Up Next: Butler will travel to Evansville Tuesday, Dec. 7 for a mid-day game. The Bulldogs defeated Evansville by 36 last season at Hinkle Fieldhouse, and have won four of the last five meetings.