2011-12 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Snapping The Skid: In Butler's last time out, the Bulldogs defeated Ball State 55-43 to snap a six-game losing streak. Ball State jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but BU scored the next 11 points and led for the games final 34 minutes. Devin Brierly scored a career-high 22 points in the win, Butler's fourth straight over the Cardinals.
2. Young Bulldogs: Butler has had young teams in the past, but no team has had young players on the floor for more minutes than this year's BU squad. Through the first eight games of the season, freshmen and sophomores are accounting for 69.9% of the team's total minutes. Freshmen Haley Howard and Hannah Douglas have been starting in addition to sophomores Jenna Cobb and Sarah Hamm.
3. Trio of WNIT Berths: The Bulldogs have played in the postseason in each of the past three seasons, earning the Horizon League's automatic berth into the WNIT each time. In 2009, BU won 20 games and advanced to the WNIT second round, defeating Duquesne and losing to Marquette. In 2010, Butler won 23 games before falling 57-54 at Illinois State in the first round. Last year, Butler won 20 games before losing at Wisconsin in the WNIT first round.
4. 4 Straight 20s: Butler has won 20 games in each of the past four seasons, the first time the team has achieved that as a Division I program. The Bulldogs went 20-14 last year and finished second in the Horizon League. The Bulldogs were 23-10 in 2009-10, the team's most wins since 1998. BU was 20-10 in 2007-08 and followed that with a 20-12 season in 2008-09. Butler is 83-45 during the last four seasons.
5. Devin's Increased Production: Devin Brierly, the only senior playing significant minutes at this point in the season, has made a point of becoming more aggressive on offense. The 5-9 senior guard entered this season averaging 4.4 points per game for her career, but is currently scoring 9.6 points per game this season. She scored 20 points at IPFW, 18 vs. Bradley and a career-high 22 against Ball State.
Butler vs. Marian: As women's basketball became mainstream in the 1970's and 80's, Butler and Marian were common opponents. The two Indy universities met 16 times from 1976-88, with BU leading the series 13-3. The last meeting came on Jan. 6, 1988. Butler won that game 86-52. Marian's last win vs. BU came in Butler's season opener in 1984.
Short Van Ride: Marian is located 3.6 miles from Hinkle Fieldhouse, just off 38th Street. In contrast, Butler's trip to Nevada covered 2,033 miles.
10th Season of Beth Couture: This season marks Beth Couture's 10th on the Butler sideline, making her the first coach in Butler women's basketball history to reach 10 seasons as head coach. Linda Mason coached the team for eight seasons (1976-84).
McDivitt Back: Mandy McDivitt, who suffered a concussion on Dec. 3 at Bowling Green, is expected back for Saturday's game vs. Marian. She was out for two games after bumping heads with a Bowling Green player. McDivitt, a sophomore from Connersville, Ind., is playing 18.7 minutes per game.
Freshman Impact - Haley Howard: Haley Howard, a freshman from Whiteland Ind., is Butler's leading scorer with 11.9 points per game. Howard leads the team in field goal shooting (.514) and 3-pt shooting (.412). Howard scored 19 at Nevada, 17 at Indiana State and 15 vs. Ball State.
She Would Be Leader: Haley Howard, Butler's leading scorer, is 21-for-21 from the foul line this season. She would be the national leader in free throw percentage, but needs to have made 2.5 free throws per game. She averages 2.3 made FTs per contest.
All-Tournament Dawgs: Butler had one player honored in each of its two early-season tournaments. Terra Burns was named all-tournament at Iowa's Hawkeye Challenge and Haley Howard was all-tourney at Nevada's Nugget Classic.
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 is the honorary chairwoman for St. Vincent Women 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.
Butler In The NCAA Rankings: In the latest NCAA rankings, the Bulldogs are 57th in free throw percentage (.732) and 89th in steals per game (10.6). Butler is second in the HL in both categories.
Pressure The Ball: Butler has had success on defense when it pressures the ball and forces turnovers. The Bulldogs have forced 20 turnovers five times this season, including their last home game when they took the ball away 27 times against Ball State and 24 times against Bradley. The Dawgs are second in the Horizon League with 10.6 steals per game.
Cobb's All-Around Game: Beth Couture continually applauds Jenna Cobb for the energy she brings to the starting lineup. The sophomore guard is third in the Horizon League with 2.4 steals per game. She totaled nine points, six rebounds and four steals in Butler's win over Ball State last week. Her final steal sealed the game, as she dove on a loose ball and fed Haley Howard for an easy lay-up with 23 seconds left in the game.
Block Party: Sarah Hamm is leading the Horizon League and ranks 65th in the nation with 1.9 blocks per game. She's had at least one rejection in seven of the team's nine games. Hamm has blocked four shots in a game twice this season, with four each at IPFW and against Bradley. The sophomore center owns 17 blocked shots, while the rest of Butler's team has 18 blocks.
Locking Down On 'D': Butler held Indiana State and Ball State to an average of 46.0 points per game last week while also forcing 20.5 turnovers against the two teams. The two games marked Butler's first games where it held an opponent to less than 60 points.
Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 150 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.
Pro Dawgs: Two recent Butler players signed pro contracts overseas during the summer. Brittany Bowen, an All-Horizon League player last year who graduated May,signed with a club in Denmark. Just days later, 2010 graduate Susan Lester signed to play professionally in Turkey.
400: On Jan. 29 of last season, Beth Couture picked up her 400th career win. The 10th-year Bulldog coach now owns 408 career wins, including 150 at Butler. Only 48 other active NCAA coaches have 400 career victories.
Indiana Is The Dawgs' House: The Bulldogs have posted a 21-7 record against schools from Indiana during the four seasons prior to this one. That mark includes a 6-0 record against Indiana foes in 2009-10 and a 5-2 record last year.
Butler Background: Amanda Raker, a freshman post player who averaged 7.5 points per game in the tourney at Nevada, has the pedigree for success at Butler. Her father, Gary, played two seasons of basketball at BU from 1978-80 after playing two years at Oklahoma. Gary Raker, a 1975 Indiana All-Star, averaged 11.8 points per game over 52 games at Butler.
Up Next: After this Saturday's game vs. Marian, the Bulldogs host another Indianapolis foe before adjourning for a holiday break. IUPUI comes to Hinkle Fieldhouse Wednesday, Dec. 21 for a noon game.