A-10 Play Opens At Home vs. Dayton
2012-13 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. A-10 Is Here: Saturday's game will be Butler's first contest in Atlantic 10 play. The Bulldogs are beginning their first season as an Atlantic 10 Conference member after playing for 27 seasons in the MCC/Horizon League. BU's women's soccer and volleyball teams also opened A-10 play at home, with both teams winning. Butler men's soccer started conference play at Dayton and lost.
2. A-10 Player of the Week: Daress McClung, who led Butler to a pair of road wins last weekend, was picked as Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week. It marked the second time this season she has claimed the honor. McClung, a 6-0 forward and Indianapolis native, averaged 26.5 points and 15.0 rebounds in BU's wins at Cleveland State and UIC. She started the weekend with 22 points and 18 rebounds to lead Butler to a 56-54 win at CSU on Thursday night. Her 22 points at Cleveland State was a career high until she scored 22 at UIC - by halftime. McClung finished with 31 points and 12 rebounds on 13-for-17 shooting to lead BU to an 84-61 win in Chicago.
3. Daress Playing 'D': In addition to being Butler's leading scorer and rebounder, Daress McClung has put up some impressive blocks and steals numbers this season. McClung leads the A-10 in blocks with 2.7 per game and owns nine outings with 3+ blocks. She has at least three swats in each of the last six games. Her steals numbers are almost as good, ranking fourth in the A-10 at 2.5 per game. She has six games with 3+ steals.
4. Block Party: The Bulldogs are leading the A-10 in blocked shots with 6.6 swats per game. Seven times this season the Bulldogs have rejected at least eight shots in a game. BU swatted a season-best 12 shots against Illinois State and also had 11 blocks vs. Valparaiso back in November. Over the last five games, Butler has blocked 43 shots (8.6 per game). Nationally, BU ranks 4th in the country in blocks. Daress McClung leads the conference and stands 16th in the nation with 2.7 blocks per game. Liz Stratman averages 3.7 blocks per game and is on pace to be ranked nationally when she's played in enough games.
5. Board Work: The Bulldogs have spent much of the season near or at the bottom of the A-10's rebounding statistics, but that trend moved upward last weekend. BU was +23 on the glass at Cleveland State and +9 at UIC. The Bulldogs pulled down exactly a season-high 19 rebounds in each victory, leading to a 34-17 advantage in second-chance points against CSU and UIC.
Butler vs. Dayton: UD leads the all-time series against BU 14-9. Dayton swept a home-and-home over Butler in 2008 and 2009. Before that, the teams had last played in 1995. The Flyers and Bulldogs were conference opponents in the MCC from 1988-93.
Butler vs. A-10: Playing its first A-10 game, Butler is 3-2 against Atlantic 10 teams over the previous four seasons. BU claimed two wins over Saint Louis and one at Duquesne during that span. The two losses are to Dayton.
Not A Bad Weekend: Beth Couture called Daress McClung's performances the best back-to-back games she's seen as a coach. McClung now has seven double-doubles after posting 22 points and 18 boards at Cleveland State and then her 31-point outburst at UIC.
More On McClung: Daress McClung's total of 18 rebounds at Cleveland State is the most a player has had since Beth Couture has been coach at Butler. The last time a BU player grabbed 19 rebounds in a game came in 1984.
The Last Time: Taylor Schippers became the first Butler player to have 10 assists in a game since Terra Burns did it in 2010. Daress McClung's total of 31 points was the most since Hannah Douglas went for 31 last season vs. Wright State.
(Former) League Sweep: In its first season out of the Horizon League, Butler posted a 3-0 mark against HL schools. The Bulldogs defeated Valparaiso 69-55 in November and then began January with road wins at Cleveland State and UIC.
For Starters: Through the first 15 games this season, Beth Couture has used the same starting lineup. That's the longest stretch of using the same lineup to start a season in her 11 years at Butler. Last season, Butler used nine different starting lineup combinations.
Butler In The HL: Before leaving for the A-10, 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.
Double-Double Duo: Both Daress McClung (31 pts, 12 rebs) and Taylor Schippers (10 pts, 10 asts) posted double-doubles at UIC. It marked the first time BU has had two players post double-doubles in the same game since Butler's 2009 WNIT win at Duquesne (Brittany Bowen and Lade Akande).
Big Ten Win: Butler's 59-56 win over Indiana on Dec. 9 was BU's first win over a Big Ten opponent for Beth Couture and the first since 1998. That season, BU defeated Michigan State and Illinois. Daress McClung led the Bulldogs with 21 points and 12 boards against the Hoosiers. BU led by 22 at one point and had a 40-25 lead before hanging on in the final minute.
December Record: Butler shook off a slow November to go 4-2 in the final month of 2012. It was BU's best December record since 2009, when it was 5-1. The Bulldogs were 3-4 in December last season.
No Experience Needed: In a survey done during the offseason, Butler was listed as 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.
Steering The 'Schip': Taylor Schippers is Butler's starting point guard and is second on the team in scoring. She has scored at least 11 points in 13 games, including a career-best 27 points at St. Mary's over Thanksgiving. Schippers ranks fourth in the A-10 with 15.3 points per game. She is fifth in the conference in FT shooting (.805) and ninth in minutes (34.3).
Schippers Named All-Tourney: Taylor Schippers was picked for the all-tourney team at St. Mary's after Thanksgiving. 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.
In The National Rankings: In addition to being third in the country in blocks (6.6), BU stands 44th in turnovers (15.1), 84th in free throw percentage (.715) and 63rd in assist-turnover ratio (0.91). Daress McClung is in the top 50 nationally in rebounding (39th), blocks (14th) and doubles-doubles (23rd).
Going Inside: With Daress McClung and Liz Stratman scoring effectively inside, Butler has made more of an effort to work the ball inside. In its nine victories, BU attempts 20 free throws while shooting 7.9 3-pointers a game. In their six losses, the Dawgs have hoisted 20.2 shots from 3-point range while attempting 14 free throws a game. Passing into the post has been a trend in helping BU win games.
Indiana Sweep: Butler will have bragging rights within Indiana borders for the next year. BU went 5-0 against Indiana schools, with wins over Indiana, Valparaiso, Indiana State, Ball State and IUPUI. It marks the second time Butler has swept Indiana schools under Beth Couture. In 2009-10, BU went 6-0 against in-state opponents.
Hannah Consistent: Hannah Douglas has been a consistent scorer, posting between 9 and 13 points 10 times this season. She tied her season high with 13 points at UIC. Douglas' career high of 31 points came last year against Wright State. Her emergence slashing to the basket gives BU a dependable perimeter scorer.
Injury Timeout: Butler has played this entire season without three key players. 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. Haley Howard, a sophomore forward who started in Butler's exhibition game, has a stress fracture and senior Becca Bornhorst is out for the year after offseason surgery.
High School Connection: Dayton's Samantha MacKay was a high school teammate of Butler senior Becca Bornhorst at Dublin Coffman in Ohio. Both were all-conference players and led their team to a 25-1 mark as seniors in 2009.
Couture Is No. 1: Beth Couture, with 170 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.
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 Women 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.
Up Next: The Bulldogs will compete in Atlantic 10 play for the first time when they host nationally-ranked Dayton Saturday, Jan. 12 at noon.