INDIANAPOLIS - Sophomore Taylor Schippers scored a career-high 22 points and the Butler women's basketball team pulled away late for a 69-55 win over Valparaiso on Monday night.
"I thought today we had great effort, no doubt," head coach Beth Couture said. "Our system was clicking better on both ends of the floor. We still need to work, but we did some nice things effort-wise and in execution."
Butler turned up the defensive pressure on Valparaiso early, pressuring the Crusaders and creating fast break chances. With Valparaiso leading 14-13, a pair of Butler freshmen (Blaire Langlois and Lexus Murry) came up with steals and lay-ups to put the Dawgs up 17-14. The momentum shift continued and Butler led 31-20 with 2:30 left in the first half. BU led 32-22 when Valpo closed the half with a pair of buckets to make it 32-26 at halftime.
By the end of the night, Butler had forced 17 turnovers and had a 20-5 advantage in points off turnovers.
"We knew one of the keys to winning this game was defensive pressure, especially on their guards," Douglas said. "We worked on it in practice. Their post players are really good so the guards had to do their part with ball pressure."
Valparaiso, which defeated Butler twice last season, wouldn't go away. Even as it appeared BU would put the Crusaders away, Valpo would hang around. A pair of free throws by Valpo's Tabitha Gerardot cut Butler's lead to 49-46 with 11:10 to play.
That's when Schippers took over.
The Butler guard hit a deep 3-pointer and then a pull-up jumper on consecutive possessions to put BU ahead 54-46. Valpo answered but Douglas stepped up with four quick points. Schippers buried another trey with 4:15 to play that put the Bulldogs ahead 61-52. Schippers then iced the game with free throws in the final 2 minutes.
McClung shook off foul trouble to block six shots and pull down six rebounds. Douglas grabbed nine rebounds while playing a team-high 33 minutes. Freshman Katie Brewer chipped in eight rebounds (four offensive) with a pair of blocks.
Valparaiso was led by Maegan Callaway, who scored 12 off the bench. Gerardot added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Butler will play two games this weekend at St. Mary's in California. BU will play the host Gaels Friday, Nov. 23 and then Portland State the next day.