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 this season. McClung, a 6-0 forward leads BU in scoring (19.3) and rebounding (8.0) while shooting .463 from the floor. She has two double-doubles this season. Schippers, a 5-8 point guard, is scoring 17.7 points and is leading the team in assists.
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. Injury Timeout: Butler is essentially playing without three injured starters. 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. Haley Howard, a sophomore forward, has a stress fracture and Becca Bornhorst is out for the year after offseason surgery.
Old League Opponent: From 2007-2012, the Bulldogs and Crusaders were conference opponents in the Horizon League. Valparaiso was a member of the Summit League until the 2007-08 season.
Butler vs. Valpo: Monday night's game will be the 28th meeting between the two private Indiana universities. BU leads the all-time series 20-7 and has won six of nine meetings vs. Valpo since 2008. Beth Couture is 6-6 against the Crusaders.
Butler vs. State Of Indiana: The Dawgs are 24-11 against Indiana schools dating back to 2007. BU owns one win against a Hoosier state school, it's 70-62 victory at Ball State.
First-Time Opponents: Butler and Valpo have a long history, but BU will see many schools this year for the first time. 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 19.3 points and 8.0 rebounds after three games. She poured in 19 points against both Marquette and Fairfield. She scored a career-high 20 points at Ball State.
Double Down: Daress McClung has two performances with exactly 19 points and 10 rebounds. She put up those numbers in the opener at Marquette and then agains a week later vs. Fairfield.
Ball Control: Butler was committing 20.5 turnovers per game after two games, but improved in that area on Saturday. BU had just 10 turnovers and Fairfield didn't have a single steal.
Thin Bench: Butler currently dresses just nine players. 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.
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.
Second Half Shooting: Shooting in the second half was the difference in Saturday's Butler-Fairfield game. Butler, which led 21-19 at the half, shot 0-for-11 from beyond the arc in the second period. Fairfield shot 6-for-10 from 3-point range, and ultimately hung on to win.
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 17.7 points while shooting .436 form thte floor. She has also made 16 of her 17 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 11.0 minutes per game.
Charity Work: Butler is shooting .796 at the foul line, converting 31 of its 39 free throws. Taylor Schippers shot 6-for-6 in the first two games and is currently a .941 foul shooter. Hannah Douglas and Daress McClung are a combined 12-for-14 as well. The Bulldogs shot just .688 at the foul line last year, eighth in the Horizon League.
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 is now cancer-free 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 7.7 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 previous career high was 15 points.
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. Valparaiso, the Bulldogs will fly to California for a pair of games at St. Mary's. BU will play St. Mary's and Portland State after Thanksgiving.