2011-12 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Need To Avoid 0-2: Butler needs a win Saturday night to avoid its first 0-2 Horizon League record since the 2004-05 season. Butler lost in overtime at Wright State and at home to Milwaukee that season. That was the only time BU has started 0-2 in league play under Beth Couture. With its loss at Detroit Thursday night, Butler dropped to 15-11 all-time in Horizon openers and 7-3 under Couture.
2. Need More Dawgs: Butler has just 10 players on this weekend's trip. Freshman Jessika Lark stayed back, still suffering from concussion symptoms. All 10 players in uniform played at Detroit, with eight Bulldogs playing at least 14 minutes.
3. 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 12 games of the season, freshmen and sophomores are accounting for 70.1% of the team's total minutes. Freshmen Haley Howard and Hannah Douglas have been starting in addition to sophomores Jenna Cobb and Sarah Hamm. Only one senior, Devin Brierly, plays significant minutes.
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. 2nd In The Nation: Haley Howard, Butler's leading scorer, is currently second in the nation in free throw percentage. Howard is 31-for-32 at the foul line, good for 96.9 percent. Her .969 mark is tops in the Horizon League. Howard, a forward from Whiteland, Ind., made the first 23 free throws of her college career before missing against Marian. She has made eight in a row since her last miss.
Butler vs. Wright State: The series between Butler and Wright State dates back to 1981, with BU leading the all-time series 27-16. The Bulldogs have won six of the last seven meetings, but WSU won 70-68 at Hinkle last year. BU's last loss in the Nutter Center came on January 26, 2008.
Last Year vs. WSU: The Bulldogs and Raiders split two meetings last year, with each team winning on the road. BU won 70-58 at the Nutter Center last January but WSU answered with a 70-68 win at Hinkle a month later. Butler finished second in the league standings last year, Wright State was fourth.
Freshman Impact: Two freshmen are starting and contributing for Butler. Haley Howard, a 5-11 forward, is Butler's leading scorer and foul shooter. Hannah Douglas, a 5-9 lefty guard, is a starter and is the team's leading rebounder.
Devin's Increased Production: Devin Brierly, the only senior playing significant minutes this season, entered this season averaging 4.4 points per game for her career. She has been asked to score more this year, averaging 10.2 points per game. She scored 20 points at IPFW, 18 vs. Bradley and a career-high 22 against Ball State.
5 Treys For Devin: Devin Brierly led Butler with 15 points on a career-high five 3-pointers at Detroit Thursday night. Four of her treys came in the first half.
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).
More On Howard: Haley Howard is averaging a team-high 12.1 points per game on .467 shooting. The Whiteland, Ind., native has eight double-digit scoring performances and has tallied at least 11 points in five of the last six contests. Her .969 free throw shooting is second in the country. She has gone 4-for-4 at the foul line four times this season.
Keep The Lock Down On 'D': Prior to its game at Detroit, Butler had held its last four opponents to an average of 45.2 points per game while also forcing 21 turnovers per game. The Dawgs consecutively held Indiana State, Ball State, Marian and IUPUI to 50 points or less. Detroit's 72-point output was the most allowed by the Bulldogs this season.
Board Work: Butler is 3-0 when grabbing more rebounds than its opponent. Last week's win over IUPUI was the first time this year BU won when being out-rebounded. The Bulldogs are 1-8 when grabbing fewer rebounds than their opponents.
Closer Than It Appeared: Butler's 72-60 loss at Detroit was closer than it appeared. The game featured 10 lead changes and four ties. Butler led 38-33 with 17 minutes left in the game before Detroit pulled away.
Territory Battle: Wright State is Butler's closest geographic foe in the Horizon League. The two schools' gyms are located 130 miles apart. Butler and Valparaiso, the league's two Indiana schools, are 153 miles apart.
McDivitt Back Strong: After missing two games with a concussion, Mandy McDivitt had one of her best games of the year against Marian back on Dec. 17. She scored 11 points and had a career-high three steals. It was her second double-digit scoring game of the year. She also had 11 points vs. UNLV. McDivitt played 25 minutes at Detroit, grabbing a career-high seven rebounds with her seven points.
Guard The Arc: In addition to three treys, Mandy McDivitt also had a rare 2-point field goal against Marian and Detroit. Of her 41 career field goals, 37 have been 3-pointers.
Home Sweet Hinkle: Butler's non-league record is a bit deceiving when you consider that seven of the team's first eight games were on the road. The Dawgs recovered in December, coming back to Hinkle and winning three straight before Christmas. BU is 3-1 at home this season and 26-7 at Hinkle over the past three seasons.
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.
Bombs Away: Butler has attempted a season-high amount of 3-pointers in each of the last three games. The Bulldogs fired a season-high 30 trey attempts at Detroit, including 5-for-10 shooting from Devin Brierly. Butler shot 23 treys against both Marian and IUPUI. Butler averages 19.3 attempts from 3-point range.
Pressure The Ball: Butler has had success on defense when it pressures the ball and forces turnovers. The Bulldogs have forced 20+ turnovers six times this season. Butler forced 24 Marian turnovers on Dec. 17, and it took the ball away 27 times against Ball State and 24 times against Bradley. The Dawgs are second in the Horizon League with 10.8 steals per game.
Block Party: Sarah Hamm is second in the Horizon League and ranks 72nd in the nation with 1.6 blocks per game. She's had at least one rejection in eight of the team's 11 games. Hamm has blocked four shots in a game twice this season, with four each at IPFW and against Bradley. The sophomore center owns 18 blocked shots, while the rest of Butler's team has 22 blocks.
Bench Posts: Post players off the bench have made a difference in Butler's recent games. Amanda Raker and Becca Bornhorst were both productive in each of BU's last two games. Bornhorst, who missed time early in the year with injuries, is averaging 6.5 points and 6.5 rebounds over the last two contests. She had seven points and seven boards at Detroit. Raker averaged 7.0 points on .636 shooting over the last two games.
Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 152 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 409 career wins, including 151 at Butler. Only 48 other active NCAA coaches have 400 career victories.
Indiana Is The Dawgs' House: The Bulldogs have posted a 23-7 record against schools from Indiana during the last five seasons. 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 Saturday's game at Wright State, the Bulldogs will host Youngstown State Thursday, Jan. 5 at Hinkle Fieldhouse.