Tourney Time: Butler Opens vs. Saint Louis In Philadelphia
2012-13 Butler Women's Basketball
The Starting 5 - Butler's Top Storylines
1. Tourney Time: Playing in its first A-10 tournament, Butler is the event's No. 6 seed. The Bulldogs are 9-10 in league tournament games under Beth Couture, having made championship game appearances in 2007, 2010 and 2011. BU was the No. 2 seed in the HL three years in a row (2009-11) and advanced to the WNIT in each of those seasons.
2. Winning Conference Record: With an 8-6 mark, Butler posted a winning conference record for the seventh time in eight years. Beside last year, BU had a winning record in conference play for six straight seasons. That includes back-to-back seasons of 14-4 records in the Horizon League (2009, 2010).
3. SLU Rematch: Friday night's game pits the Bulldogs against Saint Louis, a team they beat 67-62 on Feb. 20. Butler shot a season-high .628 in the contest, including a .696 mark in the first half. Daress McClung led Butler with 22 points and nine rebounds and Hannah Douglas had a season-high 20 points. McClung shot 11-for-12 on the day and Douglas was 6-for-7. Jacy Bradley scored 17 points for SLU.
4. 'Do-It-All' Daress: Daress McClung has filled the stat sheet almost on a nightly basis and is among the A-10 leaders in many categories. The 6-0 junior ranks second in the A-10 in points (16.5) and third in blocks (2.4) while standing fifth in rebounds (9.0) and steals (2.3). She also appears among the league's top 10 in free throw percentage. McClung has scored 20 points or more eight times this year and owns nine of Butler's 11 double-doubles this season. She owns seven outings with 4+ blocks and seven games with 4+ steals. She blocked seven shots at La Salle in January.
5. Block Party: The Bulldogs are leading the A-10 and currently rank seventh in the country in blocked shots with 5.8 swats per game. Nine 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 ranking third in the A-10 in blocks (2.4), Liz Stratman averages 2.6 swats per game. Stratman had four blocks or more five different times this season.
Butler vs. SLU: The Bulldogs lead the series with SLU 9-5. Butler has won seven straight in the series dating back to 1990 when the two schools were in the MCC. Recently, BU swept a home-and-away in 2009 and 2010 and then won at SLU in A-10 play last month.
WNIT Rematch: Wednesday's game pits Beth Couture against Lisa Stone, the former coach at Wisconsin. Butler faced UW in the first round of the 2011 WNIT in Madison. Wisconsin won 68-48.
A New Deal: Coming from the Horizon League, playing in the Atlantic 10 tourney is a different proposition for Butler. This will be the first time BU has gone to a single site for a championship since 2002. In the HL, the regular season champion hosted the semifinals and final. The first round games were on campus sites.
Bucking Young Trends: Butler has seven freshmen and sophomores on its team. Conventional wisdom says such a young team shouldn't win close games or on the road. BU has bucked that trend, posting eight wins away from Hinkle. In tight games, the Bulldogs are 5-0 in contests decided by five points or less.
Daress' Big Games: Daress McClung, BU's leader in scoring, rebounding, steals and blocks, has put together some monster games this season. She owns eight outings with 20+ points, and 12 games with at least 19 points. McClung, who owns nine double-doubles this season, has scored in double figures 23 times this season.
Pair Of 20s: Daress McClung (22 points) and Hannah Douglas (20) led Butler in scoring at Saint Louis. It was the first time this season two BU players have scored 20 points in the same game. It was the first time since Devin Brierly and Sarah Hamm combined for 41 at Loyola last February.
Breaking Down The First Game: Butler held off SLU's rally in the first meeting this season, shooting a season-high .628 in the process. The Dawgs led 37-28 at halftime and had 21 assists on 27 made FGs. Saint Louis shot 7-for-17 from 3-point range to get back into the game and also shot nearly twice as many free throws.
Becca Knows SLU: The only current Butler player to have played at Saint Louis is Becca Bornhorst. The 6-1 senior scored 14 points in Butler's win at SLU in 2009 when she was a freshman.
BU Hall Of Famers: Two former Butler women's basketball players, Melissa Kilgore (1984-88) and Missi Nelson (1988-89), are going to be inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Hannah's Best Game: Hannah Douglas scored a season-best 20 points in Butler's win at Saint Louis. She was 6-for-7 from the floor and made all three of her 3-pointers. Her previous season high was 13, which she had scored four times this season. Her career high is a 31-point outburst last year vs. Wright State.
Improved Shooting: Butler defeated St. Bonaventure and Saint Louis largely due to its hot shooting. The Bulldogs shot a season-high .628 (27-43) to win at Saint Louis. Three days earlier, the Bulldogs posted a .451 shooting percentage vs. St. Bonaventure. Over those two games, Butler was 15-for-30 from 3-point range, including a 10-for-20 mark against SBU.
Taylor's 10: Taylor Schippers had 10 assists at Saint Louis, her second game with 10 assists this season. She also passed 10 helpers at UIC in January. Schippers, who scored 12.9 points per game, is seventh in the A-10 with 4.0 assists per game.
Coaching Connection: Butler associate coach Amy Cherubini made a stop at Saint Louis in her career, coaching on the Billikens' staff under Jill Pizzotti. Cherubini was at SLU from 1998-01, when the team went 41-43.
Taylor Raises Up: Taylor Schippers scored 16 points in the second half of Butler's win over Temple, finishing the night with 19. She shot 5-for-9 and made a pair of treys to lift the Dawgs to the win. A pair of 3-pointers that bookended the halftime buzzer lifted a 25-24 Butler lead to 31-24 early in the second half. The 19 points was her highest game since she also scored 19 at Massachusetts.
A-10 Defense: Butler has done an excellent job defending A-10 opponents in league play. The Bulldogs are third in the conference in field goal percentage defense in league play, holding teams to .361 shooting. Butler has held six A-10 opponents (Xavier, VCU, UMass, St. Joe's, Charlotte and Temple) to worse that 33 percent shooting. VCU, La Salle, Rhode Island and St. Bonaventure each failed to score 50 points against Butler.
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.
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 cancer-free and has participated in several awareness events. She has served as honorary chairwoman for 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.
Dawgs Know Philly: Coming to SJU for the A-10 tournament will be Butler's third trip to Philadelphia this season. BU played at La Salle and at Saint Joe's 10 days apart in late January.
In The National Rankings: In addition to being seven in the country in blocks (5.8), BU stands among the nation's best in passing and protecting the ball. Butler ranks 78th in turnovers per game (15.3) and 65th in assist-turnover ratio (0.94). The Bulldogs are also 82nd in the country in assists (14.1). Individually, Daress McClung stands 23rd in blocks, 80th in rebounding and 86th in scoring.
Charity Work: Butler is 6-0 this season when attempting at least 20 free throws, and 10-2 when making more FTs than its opponents. Losses at St. Joe's and Charlotte could've gone differently if Butler had shot free throws. BU had just two foul shots at Charlotte and four at Saint Joseph's.
Not A Bad Weekend: Beth Couture called Daress McClung's performances against Cleveland State and UIC in 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.
Got 20 On It: Butler needs three wins for its fifth 20-win season over the last six years. Butler had won 20 games in each of the past four seasons before last season. 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.
Up Next: Butler will be the No. 6 seed in the 2013 Atlantic 10 Championsip at St. Joseph's March 8-10. BU's postseason fate will be determined in the next week.