INDIANAPOLIS - With the game tied 57-57, Illinois State scored the day's final eight points to defeat the Butler women's basketball team 65-57 at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Sunday. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Bulldogs.
"It's just disappointing. I will say that I asked them to play hard and they did in the second half," head coach Beth Couture said. "We gave ourselves a shot, which we wanted. We will watch the film and get better and continue to try to get some chemistry with this team."
Sophomore Liz Stratman had 16 points, eight rebounds and five blocks to lead four Butler players in double figures. Sophomores Taylor Schippers and Hannah Douglas added 13 and 12 points, respectively, while junior Daress McClung finished with 10 points, nine rebounds, six steals and four blocks.
Butler (7-6) trailed ISU 33-23 at the half, but picked up its defense to get back into the game. The Bulldogs rallied to tie the score three times in the second half but could never find the lead. Stratman hit a 3-pointer that tied the game 57-57 with 2:15 left, her first trey as a Butler play.
The rest of the day belong to Illinois State (8-4), which five points on the next three possessions to go ahead 62-57. After a timeout, Butler missed a mid-range jumper and then had to foul. ISU iced the game with three more free throws as time ran out on the Bulldogs.
Illinois State was led by Janae Smith with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Brianna Puni added 17 points off the bench.
"The thing was Puni scoring 17 points when she averages two," Couture said. "They pounded it inside and exploited our defense. We need to establish better defense in the paint."
Butler made just eight field goals in the first period as the Redbirds, much like Butler did in the second half, dictated play with pressure defense in the first 20 minutes. ISU's largest lead was 27-16 before Douglas scored five straight points to make it 27-21.
Butler blocked a season-high 12 shots, with five different players getting at least one rejection. Butler leads the Atlantic 10 in blocks per game. The Bulldogs also forced 20 turnovers, collecting a season-high 15 steals.
BU will return to familiar territory next week when it faces to former league opponents on the road. The Bulldogs will play at Cleveland State and UIC nex weekend.