2011-12 Butler Women's Basketball
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Butler Hosts Bradley In Home Opener
After playing its first five games away from Hinkle Fieldhouse, the Butler women’s basketball team will host Bradley Wednesday, Nov. 30 in its home opener. The Bulldogs have enter having lost three in a row after grabbing a 69-68 win over Harvard back on Nov. 13.
The Starting 5 - Butler’s Top Storylines
1. Home Opener: Wednesday’s game vs. Bradley is BU’s home opener, as Butler played its first five games away from Hinkle Fieldhouse. It was the most games away from home to start the season since 2005, when Butler played its first six games on the road. The Bulldogs are 18-18 all-time in home openers, including a 6-3 mark under Beth Couture.
2. 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 five games of the season, freshmen and sophomores are accounting for 68.4% of the team’s total minutes. Freshmen Haley Howard and Hannah Douglas have been starting in addition to sophomores Jenna Cobb and Sarah Hamm.
3. Trio of WNIT Berths: The Bulldogs have played in the postseason in each of the past three seasons, earning the Horizon League’s automatic berth into the WNIT each time. In 2009, BU won 20 games and advanced to the WNIT second round, defeating Duquesne and losing to Marquette. In 2010, Butler won 23 games before falling 57-54 at Illinois State in the first round. Last year, Butler won 20 games before losing at Wisconsin in the WNIT first round.
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. More Scoring For Brierly & Burns: Seniors Terra Burns and Devin Brierly, experienced players known for their defense and passing, have been asked to pick up their scoring this season. Burns has a career scoring average of 5.7 but it now averaging nearly 12 points per game this year. Brierly, a 4.5 career scorer, started slow but had a career-high 20 points on Nov. 20 at IPFW.
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).
Butler vs. Bradley: Butler leads the all-time series against Bradley 4-2. The series dates back to 1993. Before last year’s Bradley win in Peoria, Butler had defeated the Braves three straight times. Beth Couture is 3-2 against Bradley.
Last Meeting vs. Bradley: In the grand opening of Bradley’s new facility Renaissance Coliseum, the Braves beat the Bulldogs 77-63. Peoria native Terra Burns had 11 points and eight rebounds for Butler. Katie Yohn led Bradley with 16 points.
Bulldogs Finish Second: Butler placed second in both the Horizon League regular season and the league tournament last year, accomplishing that feat for the second straight year. BU was 12-6 in league play and defeated Detroit and Cleveland State en route to the league tourney final, won by Green Bay.
All-Tournament Dawgs: Butler has had one player honored in each of its two early-season tournaments. Terra Burns was named all-tournament at Iowa’s Hawkeye Challenge and Haley Howard was all-tourney at Nevada’s Nugget Classic.
BU vs. Missouri Valley: Butler is 7-5 against teams from the Missouri Valley Conference over the past four seasons. That includes a 1-1 mark against Bradley, with a loss last year and a win at Bradley in 2007.
Howard Lucky In Nevada: Haley Howard was Butler’s top player last week in Nevada, averaging 14.5 points and 3.5 rebounds. She shot 11-for-19 from the floor (.579) and 5-for-11 from 3-point range (.455). Howard scored a career-high 19 points against Nevada, including 15 in the first half.
Devin Scored More: Devin Brierly had a career-high 20 points in a 68-60 loss to IPFW back on Nov. 20. She shot 7-for-8 from the floor and made four of her five 3-pointers on the day. Fifteen of her points came in the second half, when Butler tried to rally from a double-digit deficit.
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.
Dawgs Making A Difference: Before playing at IPFW, head coach Beth Couture and the Bulldogs visited Lutheran Children’s Hospital in Fort Wayne. They visited with pediatric inpatients, ages 2-12. Terra Burns played a sick child in air hockey and other players played shooting games on a children’s basketball hoop.
Shooting The 3: One perceived weakness of this Butler team coming into the season might have been outside shooting. Last season, the Bulldogs finished with a .303 shooting percentage from 3-point range. After five games, Butler ranks third in the Horizon League with a .341 percentage from long range. Jenna Cobb (.455) and Haley Howard (.450) are each shooting 45 percent from 3-point range.
Bulldogs Nationally In 2011: Graduated seniors Chloe Hamilton and Brittany Bowen were among the national leaders last season. Hamilton finished fifth in the country in field goal percentage, Brittany Bowen can be found in the most recent NCAA stats. Bowen ranks 21st in the nation in free throw percentage (.867) and 84th in field goal percentage (.470). As a team, the Bulldogs are 37th in free throw shooting, 50th in assists, 56th in assist-to-turnover ratio, 66th in field goal shooting and 88th in scoring offense.
Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 149 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.
Hannah Moving Into Starting Role: Freshman Hannah Douglas started both games at Nevada, averaging 6.0 points and 3.0 rebounds. The left-handed freshman had seven points and three steals against Iowa State.
Pressure The Ball: Butler has had success on defense when it pressures the ball and forces turnovers. The Bulldogs have forced 20 turnovers three times this season, including last weekend at Iowa State. BU had 14 steals against Cyclones, led by Jenna Cobb (6) and Devin Brierly (4).
400: On Jan. 29 of last season, Beth Couture picked up her 400th career win. The 10th-year Bulldog coach now owns 407 career wins, including 149 at Butler. Only 48 other active NCAA coaches have 400 career victories.
Burns’ Helping Hand: Fifth-year point guard Terra Burns continues to climb Butler’s all-time assists chart. Burns enters this week with 270 career assists, ranking 10th on the school’s all-time chart.
Butler Background: Amanda Raker, a freshman post player who averaged 7.5 points per game 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 this Wednesday’s game vs. Bradley, the Bulldogs will travel to Bowling Green to take on the Falcons Saturday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. ET. The Bulldogs and Falcons met last season at Hinkle, with Bowling Green winning 73-64.