2011-12 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Dawgs In Windy City: When Butler's schedule comes out every year, one of the many things to look forward to is the annual road trip to Chicago. Not only is it a chance to enjoy the world-class city, BU has a successful history against Chicago schools. The Bulldogs have won eight of their last nine games at UIC and Loyola. Beth Couture is 12-8 during her career in the city of Chicago.
2. Hamm's Big Game: Sarah Hamm had her best game in a Butler uniform Thursday at UIC, scoring 23 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Hamm shot 9-for-16 from the floor and made two 3-pointers against the Flames. It was her first 20-point game in college and the highest scoring game for a BU player this season. Her previous high was 16 points against Marian back in December.
3. Middle Of The Pack: This weekend's road swing comes at a time when teams in the Horizon League are starting to play into position. With a 2-4 league record, BU badly needs a win Saturday to keep pace with the middle of the Horizon League pack. The Dawgs are a half game behind Cleveland State and Youngstown State for sixth place in the standings.
4. Looking For A Road Win: Butler is 0-8 in true road games this season. However, several of those games were decided in the final minutes. The Bulldogs lost by one possession at Nevada, Indiana State and Wright State. The Bulldogs led in the final 2:00 against both ISU and WSU. In last week's loss at Valparaiso, Butler led for much of the second half before a late 15-3 Valpo run.
5. 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 17 games of the season, freshmen and sophomores are accounting for 70.1% of the team's total minutes. Freshmen Haley Howard, Hannah Douglas and Amanda Raker have drawn starting assignments in addition to sophomores Jenna Cobb and Sarah Hamm. Only one senior, Devin Brierly, plays significant minutes.
Butler vs. Loyola: Saturday's game in Chicago will be the 59th meeting between Loyola and Butler, with BU holding a 41-17 series lead. Butler has won the last six meetings against the Ramblers. Beth Couture is 14-4 against LUC and hasn't lost at Loyola since Feb. 19, 2004 (88-85 in overtime).
Last Year vs. Loyola: The Bulldogs beat the Ramblers twice last season. BU buried 20 free throws and were +10 in rebounding to win 64-60 at LUC last January. Three weeks later, Devin Brierly hit four 3-pointers to help BU win 69-53 at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Paint Work: Butler has been winning the battles in the paint recently. The Dawgs have out-scored their last five opponents 124-98 in the paint for an average of 5.2 points per game. That total includes a 32-18 edge vs. YSU and a 30-18 advantage against CSU.
Freshmen Impact: Butler has asked three freshmen to be significant contributors this season. Haley Howard, a 5-11 forward, is Butler's second-leading scorer (9.9 ppg) and leading foul shooter (.949). She has nine double-digit scoring games this season. Hannah Douglas, a 5-9 lefty guard, is a starter and is the team's leading rebounder (4.8 rpg). Amanda Raker, a 6-1 post, has started two games and plays 16.5 minutes per game.
Haley Should Be First: Haley Howard was briefly the national leader in free throw percentage. Howard is 37-for-39 at the foul line, good for 94.9 percent. She is currently five made attempts short of qualifying for the NCAA rankings, where she would rank first in the nation. Howard, a forward from Whiteland, Ind., has gone 4-for-4 at the line on five different occasions. She made the first 23 free throws of her college career before missing against Marian on Dec. 17.
Flame Damage: UIC shot .537 and made 10-for-17 from beyond the arc to beat BU 77-42. UIC's scoring and shooting totals were the most for a BU opponent this season. The 29 points scored by Shameia Green was the individual high for an opposing player.
Took Care Of The Ball: Despite the hard loss, Butler committed just 11 turnovers against the Flames on Thursday. That's the lowest total of BU miscues this year.
Mandy's Best Game: Mandy McDivitt buried six 3-pointers at Valparaiso, good for a career-high 18 points. Her previous scoring high was 13, set last year. In all, McDivitt recorded career bests in points (18), field goals (6), attempts (11) and minutes played (32) at Valpo.
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 10.4 points per game. She scored a career-high 22 against Ball State, 20 at IPFW and 19 against YSU.
Devin's Improved 3-Point Shooting: After three seasons and 87 career games, Devin Brierly was a .317 career shooter from 3-point range. She has sharpened her shot this year, ranking 10th in the Horizon League with .365 shooting from long range.
More On Mandy: Mandy McDivitt, known primarily as a shooter off the bench, has been much more in recent games. Since Horizon League play started six games ago, McDivitt has added 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game in addition to averaging 7.0 points. She had five rebounds and two steals at Valparaiso and swiped four steals vs. Cleveland State.
Mandy's Arc: Mandy McDivitt has made 52 career field goals, 47 of which have been 3-pointers. McDivitt, who plays 23.1 minutes per game, is second on the team with 22 made 3-point field goals.
Playing Good 'D': The Bulldogs have held eight opponents to worse than 37 percent shooting this season. Seven opponents have not been able to score 60 points against the Dawgs. In four recent contests against Wright State, Youngstown State, Cleveland State and Valpo, BU has held those teams to 53.2 points per game on .341 shooting from the floor.
Hamm In League Play: Sarah Hamm has increased her production in the first six conference games. Hamm is averaging 12.2 points on .551 shooting in league contests. The sophomore center, who averaged 8.8 points in non-league play, is averaging 14.6 points over the last five games. In addition to her 23-point output Thursday at UIC, she scored 15 points at Wright State, 14 vs. Cleveland State and 12 at Valparaiso.
Up Next: After Saturday's game at Loyola, the Dawgs will return home to Hinkle to play the two Wisconsin schools. Nationally-ranked Green Bay comes to BU Thursday, Jan. 26 and Milwaukee visits on Jan. 28.