2011-12 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Home Sweet Hinkle: Butler is 8-3 at home this year, continuing a multi-year trend of defending its home court. The Bulldogs are 31-9 at Hinkle over the past three seasons. That includes a 23-8 record at home against Horizon League opponents. BU has won three of its last four games at home.
2. Standings Update: Butler remains one game behind UIC for fourth place in the Horizon League standings. The Flames are 9-7 and the Dawgs are 8-8. Both teams are at home this weekend, as UIC hosts the two Wisconsin schools. The way things currently stand, Butler would be the No. 5 seed and would travel to UIC for a quarterfinal game Wednesday, March 7. Also, Loyola (7-9) is sixth just one game behind Butler. The Bulldogs swept Loyola this season and would own the tie-breaker.
3. Getting Defensive: If Butler is going to finish the regular season on a winning note, the Bulldogs will need to do it on the defensive end. BU has limited three of its last four opponents to less than 55 points and 37% shooting. Loyola only managed 46 points against the Dawgs, while UIC scored 48 and Milwaukee just 54 last Thursday. Butler has held its opponents to less than 37% shooting 12 times this year.
4. Take The Ball Away: The Bulldogs are most successful when they apply pressure on defense and create turnovers. Butler is second in takeaways per game at 18.1. Only Green Bay forces more turnovers than Butler. Two weeks ago, Butler forced 27 Loyola turnovers, including 23 steals. On Feb. 18, BU pressured UIC into 25 turnovers. Butler has forced 20 turnovers or more 10 times this season.
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 27 games of the season, freshmen and sophomores are accounting for 69.4% of the team's total minutes. The Dawgs start freshman Hannah Douglas along with sophomores Jenna Cobb and Sarah Hamm. Two other freshmen, Haley Howard and Amanda Raker, have also started at times this season. Only one senior and one junior play significant minutes.
Butler vs. Detroit: Butler has owned Detroit in recent years, winning 12 of the last 14 meetings. Of those 12 wins, nine have come by a double-digit margin. However, Detroit leads the all-time series 33-27. Beth Couture is 15-6 against Detroit.
Previous Meeting: BU opened league play with a 72-60 loss at Detroit back on Dec. 29. The game was tied at halftime and Butler led 38-33 with 17 minutes remaining. Detroit went on a 27-2 run over a span of 8:20 to put the game away. Shareta Brown had 23 points and 13 rebounds and Devin Brierly scored 15 for BU.
League Steals Record: Jenna Cobb's 12 steals vs. Loyola on Feb. 16 tied the Horizon League single-game record and broke a 25-year-old school record. Cobb broke the previous school record of 11 that was shared by three players. Melissa Kilgore was the last Bulldog to grab 11 steals, and that was in 1987. Cobb tied Julie Wojta of Green Bay, who had 12 steals earlier this season.
Players Of The Week: Both Jenna Cobb and Sarah Hamm have been selected Horizon League Player of the Week this season. Cobb was honored on Feb. 6 after leading the Dawgs to wins at CSU and YSU. She had a career-high 21 points at Cleveland State on Feb. 2. Hamm was awarded two weeks later after averaging 19.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in victories over Loyola and UIC.
Bench Power: The Bulldogs rank second in the Horizon League in bench points per game. BU averages 15.9 points per game off the bench. Youngstown State (19.5) leads the league in this category.
More Hamm Please: Sarah Hamm is Butler's offensive go-to player. The Bulldogs had a scary moment when the 6-2 sophomore went down with an injury last weekend at Green Bay. She left the game at the 5:17 mark in the first half and didn't return. She is being evaluated. Hamm averages team highs in scoring (11.1) and rebounding (5.5).
Sarah's Big Games: Sarah Hamm has five games this season with at least 18 points. She totaled a career-high 30 points on 11-for-19 shooting against Milwaukee on Jan. 28, a week after scoring 23 points at UIC on Jan. 19. She scored 20 points vs. Loyola and 18 vs. UIC to get player of the week honors last week. She also had a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double at Cleveland State on Feb. 2.
Detroit At Home: BU has won four of its last five against Detroit in Hinkle Fieldhouse. Before losing to the Titans last year, Butler beat UDM from 2007-10.
Woman Of Steal: Jenna Cobb, who had a league-record 12 steals vs. Loyola on Feb. 16, is second in the Horizon League with 2.7 steals per game. The sophomore has 10 outings this season with 3+ steals. She had six thefts vs. Iowa State in November and against Green Bay in January.
Block Party: Butler is second in the Horizon League with 3.1 blocks per game. In league play, BU is second with 2.8 rejections per contest. After 27 games this season, Sarah Hamm blocked 46 shots, tops in the Horizon League. Hamm had 15 stuffs over the past seven games and 21 blocks over the last nine. She owns eight games this season with 3+ blocks. In league play, Hamm has a league-best 1.8 blocks per game.
'Devin-itely' Better: 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 lead and score this year, averaging 11.0 points per game. She has five 20-point games, including a recent stretch of three in a row. She had no 20-points games in her first three seasons. Brierly, who leads the team in minutes played, is second on the team with 42 made 3-pointers.
Devin's Big Games: Devin Brierly leads Butler with five 20-point games. She twice scored a career-high 22 points this season, against Ball State in December and at Youngstown State a month ago. She had 21 vs. Loyola on Feb. 16 and 20 at IPFW early in the season. Her career high enter this season was 19, coming against Milwaukee last year.
Jenna At The '1': Jenna Cobb, a sophomore guard, is known for her tenacity and energy as a player. In January, Beth Couture moved her to the point position and the move has definitely worked. Cobb scored a career-high 21 points at Cleveland State on Feb. 2. The sophomore Ohio native is averaging 10.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.8 steals per game since moving to point guard back on Jan. 21.
Wins vs. Losses: Offense has been the difference between winning and losing this season. In its 12 wins, Butler scores 65.7 points and shoots .418 from the floor. In its 15 losses, BU drops to 52.3 points on .335 shooting. Sarah Hamm averages a team-high 13.7 points and Devin Brierly scores 12.9 points in Butler wins. No Bulldog player averages 10 points in the team's losses.
Hamm Shooting The 3: Sarah Hamm, a 6-2 center, can do more than score inside. Hamm has an effective mid-range shot and is shooting .372 from 3-point range this season. Currently, she is a .375 shooter from beyond the arc in league games. She made a 3-pointer in 12 games this season.
Turnover Margin: Due to its pressure defense, Butler ranks second in the Horizon League with a +1.1 turnover margin. The Bulldogs only trail Green Bay in this category. Butler has had a positive turnover margin 15 times this season. Last Thursday at Milwaukee, the Bulldogs committed a season-low eight turnovers.
Rare Double-Double: Jenna Cobb had 11 points and a school-record 12 steals vs. Loyola, pulling off a rare points-steals double-double. The last BU player to have a double-double that wasn't points-rebounds or points-assists was Kelly Kuhn in 2000. Kuhn actually had a triple-double that night, posting 20 points and 10 blocks to go with 18 rebounds.
Becca Doubling Up: Becca Bornhorst recently posted her first two career double-doubles. She had 10 points and 10 rebounds in the first game against Milwaukee and had 10 points and 12 rebounds vs. UIC on Feb. 18. Beth Couture called Bornhorst's outing against the Flames her "toughest in a Butler uniform."
Up Next: After taking on Detroit, the Bulldogs will host Wright State in the regular season finale. The game will be Senior Day for Butler's two seniors, Devin Brierly and Kaley May.