INDIANAPOLIS - Sophomore Sarah Hamm scored 18 points to lead three Bulldogs in double figures as the Butler women's basketball team won 51-48 over UIC. The win was important for Butler in that it brought the team to within a half-game of fourth place in the Horizon League standings.
Junior Becca Bornhorst had her second career double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Senior Devin Brierly added 12 points including two free throws with 12 seconds left that provided the final margin.
Shameia Green led UIC with a game-high 21 points. Jasmine Bailey, the team's leading scorer was pressured all night into 2-for-6 shooting and 10 turnovers.
"I'm really proud of our girls because we won without getting into a rhythm offensively," head coach Beth Couture said. "But what we did do is get after it defensively. The game was won by toughness."
UIC (16-10, 9-6) had its chances down the stretch to win the game, but missed its opportunities. With Butler up 45-41 with 2:38 left, the Flames missed a wide-open lay-up. The score was 46-42 when sophomore Jenna Cobb drove for a coast-to-coast pull-up jumper to put BU ahead 48-42 with 34 seconds left.
The Flames extended the game with fouls and made it interesting, with Emily Kobel hitting a deep 3-pointer with 15 seconds left to make it 49-48. Brierly was then fouled and hit both foul shots. UIC threw the ball away with its final possession.
The Bulldogs trailed 20-15 in the first half as both teams struggled to find smooth offense. Like it did against Loyola, Butler smother UIC with pressure-packed defense.
Butler answered with the next five points to make it 20-20. The Bulldogs then got a jumper by Cobb and a 3-pointer by sophomore Mandy McDivitt to lead 25-23 at halftime.
Butler (12-13, 8-6) pressured UIC into 29 percent shooting and 25 turnovers on the night. Hamm, Cobb and McDivitt each had three steals for Butler. UIC shot just 19 percent from beyond the arc, and the game for Butler was won on the defensive end.
"When our guards are playing like that, we can pressure anybody," Couture said. "Their guards are pretty good ball-handlers and they struggled."
Bornhorst said picking up a home sweep over the league's two Chicago schools has given the team a new energy. And that started in practice.
"We were disappointed after losing to Valpo (on Feb. 11)," Bornhorst said. "We've had a tough week of practice and I think it really helped. We've worked a lot harder. We're playing tougher and we've been wanting it more."
BU will have its final road trip of the season when it goes to Wisconsin next weekend. Butler has Milwaukee Thursday, Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. ET.