MUNCIE, Ind. – Junior Daress McClung scored a career-high 20 points and the Butler women's basketball team won the final minutes of a close game to earn a 70-62 win at Ball State on Tuesday night.
McClung was the best player on the floor for much of the night, but she missed some stretches in foul trouble. She shot 9-for-18 and blocked four shots in 29 minutes. Sophomore Taylor Schippers added 17 points, making all six of her free throws. Junior Mandy McDivitt scored 12 points, with 11 coming in the first half.
"Sometimes, good teams have to find ways to win," head coach Beth Couture said. "This team found a way to win. We got contributions from different people. Right now, we're still trying to mesh on offense and defense. It'll take a little time."
The second half was always a one-possession game until Butler took control during the final 3 minutes. BU led 57-54 when sophomore Amanda Raker converted a 3-point play to put BU ahead 60-54. On the next possession, Schippers stole a pass and was fouled. With 2:02 left, she made both foul shots to extend its lead to 62-54 and Ball State was left behind. A lay-up by McClung and free throws by Schippers and sophomore Hannah Douglas iced the win for Butler.
Ball State was led by Brandy Woody, who had 17 points and three steals. She applied pressure all night, making things difficult for Butler's guards. Nathalie Fontaine added 13 points and nine rebounds.
"I give credit to Ball State. They are scrappy and play so hard," Couture said. "They were prepared. But we were able to grind it out. It made me feel good about the character of our team down the stretch."
Butler appeared to be in control early, with McDivitt hitting from long range and McClung working inside. A pair of buckets by McClung put BU ahead 14-8 and the lead eventually climbed to 28-16 when freshman Katie Brewer came off a screen and buried a 3-pointer from the wing.
But Ball State erased the lead with a 14-4 run to pull within 32-30. Ball State was pressuring Butler and two Bulldog starters were on the bench in foul trouble. BU had the ball leading 34-30 when McDivitt banked in a trey from the left wing as the first half expired.
BU's next game is the team's home opener, set for Saturday, Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. ET against Fairfield.