Bulldogs Have Home Opener Saturday Afternoon
2012-13 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. New Conference: As college athletics has been rocked by realignment in recent years, Butler got into the act. This spring, President James Danko and Athletic Director Barry Collier announced BU would become an all-sports member of the Atlantic 10 Conference. The A-10 also added VCU, which faced Butler in the 2011 NCAA Men's Final Four. There are 16 teams in the conference this season, with Temple and Charlotte set to leave in 2013. Butler's only sports not in the Atlantic 10 are women's golf and football, which aren't sponsored by the conference.
2. Transfers Delivering Early: Daress McClung and Taylor Schippers have been Butler's top two players at the very start of this season. McClung, a 6-0 forward leads BU in scoring (19.5) and rebounding (7.0) while shooting .500 from the floor. Schippers, a 5-8 point guard, has played almost every minute of the first two games. She is scoring 18.5 points and is second on the team in points, assists and 3-pointers.
3. We Need Nametags: Butler has nine freshmen and sophomores on this year's team, and one can say it may be one of the youngest teams in the nation. Beth Couture's squad has seven newcomers, including three transfers. Only four players who enter the season healthy and able to play saw action on last year's team.
4. 4 Straight 20s: Prior to last year, Butler had 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 in 2010-11 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 96-62 during the last five seasons.
5. Leading Scorer Out For The Year: Sarah Hamm, a second team All-Horizon League pick last year and BU's leading scorer and rebounder, will not play this season. She suffered an ACL tear in preseason workouts. Hamm, a 6-2 center, averaged 11.1 points and 5.5 rebounds last year. She had nine outings with 15+ points last year before suffering an ACL tear at Green Bay on Feb. 25.
38th Season Of Hoops: The 2012-13 season is Butler's 38th as a varsity program. BU is 541-436 (.552) all-time, including a 162-144 mark under 11th-year head coach Beth Couture.
First-Time Opponents: Fairfield is one of eight schools Butler will be playing this season for the first time ever. BU's first-time opponents this year are: Fairfield, Portland State, Charlotte, St. Joseph's, UMass, VCU, George Washington and Richmond. The majority of the new opponents are a result of BU's move to the A-10.
No Experience Needed: In a survey done during the offseason, it was determined that Butler is the 16th least-experienced team in the nation. The players on BU's roster average 1.077 years of college experience, tied with Nicholls State for 16th. San Jose State was tagged the country's least experienced team (0.444).
Daress At The '4': Daress McClung has been an immediate impact player. The 6-0 transfer from Cincinnati is averaging 19.5 points and 7.0 rebounds after three games. She scored a career-high 19 points at Marquette then followed that with a 20-point effort at Ball State.
Double Down: Daress McClung totaled 19 points and 10 rebounds against Marquette. It was the first double-double for BU since Becca Bornhorst had 10 points and 12 rebounds vs. UIC last February.
Thin Bench: Butler dressed just nine players in its first two games, and will continue to do so for the near future. Butler's four freshmen come off the bench, while three sophomores currently start for the Bulldogs. BU currently has three players injured and one who becomes eligible after final exams.
Butler In The Horizon League: Butler was consistently the Horizon League's second-best program. The Dawgs were 49-23 in league play over their last four seasons in the HL, finishing second in the regular season standings three times.
Becca Out For The Year: Becca Bornhorst, the team's lone senior on the roster, will not play this season but will remain on the roster. The 6-1 forward, who played in 61 career games with 37 starts, had offseason leg surgery and decided not to play. Bornhorst averaged 4.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per game last season.
Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 162 victories at Butler, sits alone atop BU's all-time women's basketball wins list. In 2011, Couture passed Linda Mason, who coached at BU from 1976-84 and won 124 games. The record-breaking victory came at UIC on March 4, 2011.
Offensive Glass: Butler is averaging 13.5 offensive rebounds per game. BU hauled in 14 offensive rebounds at Marquette, then had 13 offensive boards at Ball State. Darress McClung led all players with four offensive boards, while freshman guard Blaire Langlois grabbed three.
Steering The 'Schip': Taylor Schippers, a transfer from Oklahoma State, is a high-volume point guard who can pass and score for the Bulldogs. She is averaging 18.5 points while shooting .440 form thte floor and .375 from 3-point range. She has also made all 12 of her free throws this season. Schippers, who started 17 games at OSU last year has also played off the ball at times. Freshman back-up point guard Lexus Murry is playing 14.0 minutes per game.
Charity Work: After two games, Butler is shooting .800 at the foul line. BU has converted 24 of its 30 free throws. Taylor Schippers has gone 6-for-6 in both games this season. Hannah Douglas and Amanda Raker are a combined 7-for-7 as well. The Bulldogs shot just .688 at the foul line last year, eighth in the Horizon League.
Postseason Dawgs: Prior to last year, the Bulldogs played in the postseason in three straight seasons. BU earned the Horizon League's automatic berth into the WNIT each time. In 2009, BU advanced to the WNIT second round, defeating Duquesne and losing to Marquette. Butler lost to Illinois State and Wisconsin losing at Wisconsin in the WNIT first round.
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 walked 38 miles over a two-day span for St. Vincent's Weekend To End Breast Cancer during the fall. She is also the honorary chairwoman for 2011 St. Vincent Woman 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.
Christmas Present: With two post players (Becca Bornhorst and Sarah Hamm) out for the season, Butler will be getting a big boost after final exams with the addition of Liz Stratman. The 6-2 sophomore transferred to BU from Xavier last year and will be available to play Dec. 16 at Northern Kentucky. Stratman, who was Indianapolis City Player of the Year in high school in 2011, played in 12 games at XU before leaving.
Hannah's Big Game: Hannah Douglas, averaging 8.5 points this season, has shown the ability to score in bunches. In Butler's home finale last season, the sophomore put up 31 points to lead BU to a win over Wright State. She finished 12-for-20 shooting and made 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Her 31 points was the highest by a Butler player last year. Her previous career high was 15 points.
Mandy Makes 3s: Mandy McDivitt, who shot 2-for-6 from beyond the arc at Marquette, led the Dawgs last year with 47 made 3-pointers. Twice last season, McDivitt went off for six made 3-pointers. She nailed 6 of her 13 attempts at Valparaiso on Jan. 14 and then made 6 of 10 at Youngstown State on Feb. 4. Of her 81 career field goals, 72 have been 3-pointers.
Butler Background: Amanda Raker, a sophomore from Indianapolis, 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 their game vs. Fairfield, the Bulldogs host former Horizon League opponent Valparaiso at Hinkle Monday, Nov. 19.