INDIANAPOLIS - Senior Devin Brierly scored 19 points and freshman Haley Howard added 14 to lead the Butler women's basketball team to a 73-64 win over Youngstown State Thursday night. BU shot 50 percent from the floor, its best shooting night of the year.
"I'm proud of our team," head coach Beth Couture said. "And the thing that makes me feel good is that we can still improve. For the last week we've really tried, and we'll continue to get better."
Brierly scored 14 of her 19 in the second half and had a strong overall game. She grabbed six rebounds and handed out four assists. She shot 7-for-14 and 4-for-7 from 3-point range.
The Bulldogs led a close, back-and-forth second half and would own a 48-43 lead at the 12-minute timeout in the second half. YSU scored the next six points to lead 49-48, forcing a Butler timeout.
"I challenged the team," Couture said. "And we stepped it up from that point on."
Butler controlled the rest of the game, ripping off a 12-2 run to lead 60-51 with 6:33 remaining. The run was capped with a trey by sophomore guard Jenna Cobb. Moments later, Brierly took a pass from Cobb and hit another big trey to make it 63-54. The Bulldogs would stretch the lead out to as many as 13 and then ice the game at the foul line.
Howard scored eight in the second half, attacking the basket and shooting pull-up jumpers in the lane. She finished 5-for-9 from the floor and made all four of her free throws.
"My 3-point shot hasn't been falling lately, so I decided to take another approach," Howard said. "I just drove and got to the basket."
Butler's offense was very balanced, with junior Becca Bornhorst scoring 11 points and freshman Hannah Douglas adding 11 points and six rebounds. Sophomore Sarah Hamm had all nine of her points in the first half.
Youngstown State's Brandi Brown finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Two other Penguin players each scored 11.
The Bulldogs finished 25-for-50 shooting, the first time shooting 50 percent since last season. Butler also had a 41-25 rebounding edge, including 16 offensive rebounds.
The win over the Penguins was big for Butler, as it sets up an opportunity this weekend to get back to .500 in Horizon League play. BU was coming off two tough road losses.
"We thought we could've split last week on the road, but we didn't," Couture said. "We didn't want to take a disappointing loss at home. We have a tough challenge at home Saturday, but if we take care of home court, we'll be back at .500."
Butler (5-9, 1-2) will play Cleveland State Saturday, Jan. 7 at Hinkle Fieldhouse at 2 p.m.