January 22, 2013

Dawgs Continue On A-10 Road Swing At UMass

2012-13 Butler Women's Basketball

Butler (11-7, 2-1) at Massachusetts (3-15, 1-2)
Wednesday, Jan. 23 - 7 p.m. ET
Amherst, Mass. - Mullins Center
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The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines

1. Hot Streak: With a young team that saw three key rotation players go down with injuries before the season, Butler got off to a slow start in November. The Bulldogs have stayed together to win eight of their last 10 games. BU is currently 4-1 in January after posting a 4-2 mark in December. One reason has been all of the new players meshing together better, but another reason has been the addition of 6-2 transfer Liz Stratman. The sophomore center averages 12.0 points and BU is 7-2 with her in the lineup. 

2. Road Warriors: Atypical of such a young team, Butler has thrived on the road. BU is 6-3 in true road games after winning its first A-10 away contest 59-42 at La Salle. The Bulldogs have also claimed wins at Ball State, Northern Kentucky, Cleveland State, UIC and IUPUI. Butler's margin of victory in those six road wins is 12.5 points. 

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 2.8 per game and owns 10 outings with 3+ blocks. She had a career-high seven rejections at La Salle. McClung also averages 2.5 steals per game, ranking third in the A-10. She has eight games with 3+ steals. 

4. Block Party: The Bulldogs are leading the A-10 and currently rank third in the country in blocked shots with 6.6 swats per game. Eight 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 and La Salle. In addition to Daress McClung leading the conference in blocks, Liz Stratman averages 3.3 swats per game and is on pace to be ranked in the top 10 nationally when she's played in enough games.

5. Balanced Attack: Butler has had four primary scoring options emerge this season, two in the post and two on the perimeter. Taylor Schippers and Hannah Douglas are BU's outside scoring threats. Schippers averages 14.4 points and leads Butler in 3-pointers made. Douglas, a 9.6-point scorer, is known for driving to the basket and her mid-range game. Daress McClung (team-leading 16.0 points) can shoot, score in the post and get putbacks. Liz Stratman scores 12.3 points a game on the block.

 

Butler vs. UMass: The Bulldogs and Minutemen are meeting for the first time ever in women's basketball.  Wednesday's contest is Butler's first game ever in the state of Massachusetts.  

Player of the Week Twice: Daress McClung has been picked as Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week twice this season. Her first honor came Dec. 17 after she went for 15 points and 13 rebounds in a win at Northern Kentucky. The 6-0 forward picked up another notice on Jan. 7 after posting 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 at CSU. McClung finished with 31 points and 12 rebounds on 13-for-17 shooting to lead BU to an 84-61 win in Chicago. 

Stratman Takes Down Old Team: Liz Stratman had extra motivation in Thursday's win over Xavier, her former team. The 6-2 Stratman came off the bench for 13 points and eight rebounds as BU defeated XU. She played in 12 games there last year before transferring to Butler in December 2011. She averaged 15.5 minutes and 3.2 points per game before choosing to leave for BU.  

Daress On The Road: Daress McClung is averaging 18.6 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game on the road. She has scored in double figures in eight of BU's nine road contests, and she had nine points at Bowling Green. McClung is scoring 24.0 points per game over BU's last three road games, highlighted by her 31-point effort at UIC. 

Blaire Force One: Through 16 games, Blaire Langlois had scored 16 career points. She nearly doubled her total last week vs. Xavier, putting up 14 points in BU's win over Xavier. She shot 5-for- 7, including 4-for-6 from beyond the arc. Her increase in scoring resulted in her playing a career-high 25 minutes at La Salle. 

Not A Bad Weekend: Beth Couture called Daress McClung's performances against Cleveland State and UIC at the beginning of January the best back-to-back games she's seen as a coach. McClung posted 22 points and 18 boards at Cleveland State and then followed that with her 31-point, 12-board outburst at UIC. 

Schippers Helping Out: Taylor Schippers has seen her assist totals climb recently. The Bulldog point guard is averaging 5.2 assists over the last five games. She has three outings this season with at least six assists.

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).

The Last Time: With 10 helpers at UIC, 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 in that game was the most since Hannah Douglas went for 31 last season vs. Wright State. 

Strangely Enough: In a statistical anomaly, Butler's season shooting percentage is the same as its opponents' shooting percentage. BU is shooting .383 on the year and allowing opponents to shoot the same mark. Butler is 9-0 this season when shooting a better percentage than its opponent, and 2-7 when shooting a worse percentage. 

(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 (56-54) and UIC (84-61). 

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. 

In The Classroom: Seven BU players earned a 3.30 GPA or better during the fall semester. As a team, the Bulldogs boast a 3.14 cumulative GPA. 

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 was 96-62 during the five seasons before this year. 

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.

For Starters: Through the first 18 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. 

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. 

In The National Rankings: In addition to being third in the country in blocks (6.6), BU stands among the nation's best in taking care of the ball. Butler ranks 76th in both turnovers (15.7) and assist-turnover ratio (0.85). Daress McClung is in the top 60 nationally in rebounding (54th) and blocks (13th).

Hannah Consistent: Hannah Douglas has been a consistent scorer, posting between 9 and 13 points 12 times this season. She has scored exactly her season high of 13 points three times this season. 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. 

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.

Up Next: After two straight A-10 road games, Butler is at home Sunday, Jan. 27 against VCU. The game against the Rams is at 2 p.m. ET.