November 27, 2012

Bulldogs Return Home To Host Eastern Michigan

2012-13 Butler Women's Basketball

Butler (2-4) vs. Eastern Michigan (1-4)
Wednesday, Nov. 28 - 7 p.m. ET
Indianapolis, Ind. - Hinkle Fieldhouse
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The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines 

1. Home Sweet Hinkle: The Bulldogs have made Hinkle Fieldhouse an unwelcome place to play for opponents. BU is 33-12 at home over the past four seasons. That includes a 13-3 mark in 2009-10, when Butler finished with a 23-10 record. Butler was 19-8 at home during the two seasons prior to this one.

2. Charity Work: Butler is converting 81 percent of its free throw attempts, the highest mark in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Bulldogs currently rank seventh in the nation in free throw percentage as well. Butler has shot at least 75 percent at the foul line in every game this season, highlighted by a 14-for-15 (.933) effort vs. Valparaiso. Individually, BU is led at the charity stripe by Taylor Schippers (.897) and Hannah Douglas (.857). 

3. Transfers Delivering Early: Daress McClung and Taylor Schippers have been Butler's top two players this season. Schippers, a 5-8 point guard from Oklahoma State, is leading Butler with 19.7 points per game. Schippers is 35-for-39 at the foul line this season and has scored at least 16 points in every game. McClung, a 6-0 forward, came to BU from Cincinnati. She is averaging 16.8 points and a team-best 7.5 rebounds while shooting .462 from the floor. She has two double-doubles this season.  

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 senior Becca Bornhorst is out for the year after offseason surgery.

Schippers Named All-Tourney: Taylor Schippers was picked for the all-tourney team at St. Mary's last weekend. The 5-8 guard averaged 21.5 points and 3.0 assists per game during the two games in California. Her weekend included a career-high 27-point effort against St. Mary's, then she scored 16 vs. Portland State. 

Butler vs. EMU: BU and EMU are 2-2 against each other, with the last meeting coming in 2003. Beth Couture is 0-2 against the Eagles.

After Turkey: In 10 tries under Beth Couture, Butler is 8-2 in the first game after Thanksgiving. That figure includes a 2-1 mark against MAC schools (wins over WMU and Bowling Green, loss to Ohio). 

First-Time Opponents: Butler's game this weekend against Portland State is one of eight first-time opponents for the Bulldogs. 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). 

Butler vs. MAC Schools: The Bulldogs have a 5-2 record against Mid-American Conference schools over the past three seasons. That record includes four wins over Ball State and one over Miami (Ohio).

Daress At The '4': Daress McClung has been an immediate impact player. The 6-0 forward has scored at least 16 points in every game this season. She poured in 19 points with 10 rebounds against both Marquette and Fairfield. She scored a career-high 20 points at Ball State. 

Block Party: Daress McClung blocked a career-high six shots against Valparaiso this week. That spearheaded an 11-block effort for BU, the most in a game for the Dawgs since they had 11 stuffs on Nov. 22, 2006 vs. Air Force. 

Ball Control: No team in the A-10 takes care of the ball better than BU. Butler commits just 14.7 turnovers per game, the lowest figure in the conference. The Dawgs rank 39th in the nation in fewest turnovers. 

Butler In The HL: 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 standings three times. 

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. 

Raker's Best Play Yet: Amanda Raker, who has been starting in the post for Butler this season, has been playing her best basketball. The 6-1 sophomore averaged 10.5 points and 6.5 rebounds during the team's Thanksgiving trip. She scored a career-high 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting and blocked four shots against Portland State.

Butler Background: Amanda Raker 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.

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 163 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.

Bombs Away: Butler has attempted 127 shots from beyond the arc this year, the second-highest mark in the A-10. Only Dayton, at 129, has fired more 3-pointers. Both Taylor Schippers and Mandy McDivitt have shot 39 shots from 3-point range.

Fun Off The Court: After playing St. Mary's and Portland State in California last weekend, BU had a chance to have fun together as a team. The Bulldogs were able to tour the famous Alcatraz Island in San Francisco last Saturday night. The team also ate dinner on Fisherman's Wharf. Before the two games, the Bulldogs did a service project at a food bank for Feed America. 

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, third on the team in scoring, has consistently been scoring in double figures. The sophomore is averaging 12.0 points over the last three contests. In Butler's home finale last season, the sophomore scored 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.  

Up Next: After hosting Eastern Michigan Wednesday night, Butler will play at Bowling Green a week later.