Bulldogs to Host Cleveland State in Season Opener

Blaire Langlois

Game Notes

Twitter - @ButlerWBB

INDIANAPOLIS – The Butler women's basketball team will face Cleveland State in the 2013-14 regular season home opener. Tip-off between the Bulldogs and the Vikings is slated for Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m.

Gameday Information
Date: Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 I 7:00 PM
Location: Indianapolis, Ind. I Hinkle Fieldhouse (10,000)
Webcast: ButlerSports.com
Series History: Butler leads the all-time series over Cleveland State 27-13
Last Meeting: Butler defeated Cleveland State 56-54 during the 2012-13 season

About Butler
The Bulldogs have depth at every position this year as they prepare for the 2013-14 season opener vs. Cleveland State. Daress McClung, Liz Stratman and Taylor Schippers highlight a talented starting five unit that will lead the program into the BIG EAST conference this year.

Defensive specialist Mandy McDivitt, JUCO standout Ijeoma Uchendu, and comeback player of the year candidate Haley Howard will all impact the program in '13-14. Sarah Hamm is also coming back into the rotation after sitting out last season with a knee injury. Blaire Langlois, Lexus Murry and Olivia Wrencher are also in the mix to fight for playing time.

Head Coach Beth Couture brought in three freshmen to compete on this year's team in guard Serena Sandusky, guard/forward Ashton Feldhaus and center Zoe Reichman. Loryn Goodwin is yet another new face on the sideline, yet she will have to sit out this year due to the NCAA transfer rule.

The Bulldogs prepared for the season opener vs. Cleveland State by playing DePauw in an exhibition game on Sunday, Nov. 2. Every player on the roster saw the court against the Tigers as the Bulldogs walked away with a 63-41 win. Stratman and McClung each reached a double figure scoring total and Howard impressed the crowd by leading the team in assists.

Scouting Cleveland State
The Vikings lost Shalonda Winton to graduation, but three starters will be back in the lineup for the 2013-14 regular season opener. Cori Coleman is Cleveland State's top returning scorer as she moves on to her junior season after scoring 12.5 points per game as a sophomore. Kierstern Green and Imani Gordon also return to Cleveland State after impact sophomore seasons. Green averaged 10.2 ppg a year ago and Gordon controlled the paint with 7.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per night.

The future is bright for Cleveland State as the young 2013-14 roster only features one senior. Coleman and Green started in all 30 games last year and Gordon was in the starting five on 26 occasions. Head Coach Kate Peterson Abiad only has 10 players on the team as she added four freshmen to mix with two sophomores three juniors and the lone senior.

All-Time Series
Butler leads the all-time series over Cleveland State 27-13. The first-ever meeting between the two programs was played during the 1994-95 season as the Bulldogs recorded a 74-71 victory at Cleveland State. 

Butler and Cleveland State started playing two times a year during the 1995-96 season as members of the MCC (Midwestern City Conference). The Bulldogs won the first eight games between the two schools, but the Vikings would respond with a 70-67 win over Butler in the 1998-99 regular season finale at Cleveland State.

The Vikings swept the season series for the first time in 2000-01, the last season of the MCC, as both Butler and Cleveland State would move on to the Horizon League in 2001-02. The Vikings started to cut into the all-time series gap after the move as they swept Butler again in '01-02.

The Bulldogs have held the upper hand most recently winning the last four meetings. CSU's last win over Butler came during the 2010-11 season when the Vikings recorded a 69-64 home win to split the season series.

Season Openers
Butler hasn't won a season opener since the 2007-08 season. A string of tough opponents created this streak as the Bulldogs have played at Ohio State, at Kentucky, at Bradley, vs. UNLV, and at Marquette the last five seasons.

2013-14 Season Preview
The Butler women's basketball team will start a new chapter this season as they join the BIG EAST conference. Head Coach Beth Couture brings back a solid nucleus of players from last year's team that reached the WNIT. The Bulldogs have reached postseason play (WNIT) in four out of the last five seasons, but with so much talent and depth on the 2013-14 team; Coach Couture has her sights set even higher.

"Our expectations don't change from year to year," Head Coach Beth Couture explained. "We play hard and try to improve every day in order to make the NCAA Tournament. We feel real fortunate to be in the BIG EAST now because we feel like there are multiple chances to do that versus just winning the tournament at the end of the season."

Butler, who played in the Atlantic 10 last year and the Horizon League before that, posted a 17-14 overall record last year which included an 8-6 mark in A-10 action. The team will play a challenging non-conference schedule in order to prepare for the new landscape of the BIG EAST.

Butler has a strong group of returners that will produce a talented starting five and also give the Bulldogs a good supporting cast which makes Couture very excited for the upcoming season.

"We are going to be deep," Couture stated. "The talent is here, we just have to figure out roles. Only five players can start, but we need everyone to be important for us. I think that if we can put winning first it will be an exciting year for us."

Bulldog Bits
- Butler returned three starters and nine letterwinners from the 2012-13 team.
- Daress McClung was selected to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team.
- Head Coach Beth Couture has guided Butler to the WNIT four times in the last five years.
- Two seniors, four juniors, five sophomores and three freshmen make up the Butler roster.
- Kurt Godlevske joined the coaching staff after winning a 4A State Championship in 2013.
- Daress McClung led the team in points (16.4), rebounds (9.0) and blocks (2.3) last year
- Ijeoma Uchendu was a honorable mention JUCO All-American selection at Central Arizona.
- Taylor Schippers led the team in assists and 3-point shooting as a sophomore.
- Sarah Hamm and Haley Howard will both return after suffering season-ending injuries last year.

Probable Starters
#1 Taylor Schippers, 5-8 Guard, Junior from Houston, Texas
#10 Mandy McDivitt, 5-8 Guard, Senior from Connersville, Indiana
#21 Daress McClung, 6-0 Guard/Forward, Senior from Indianapolis, Indiana
#3 Haley Howard, 5-11 Forward, Redshirt-Sophomore from Whiteland, Indiana
#5 Liz Stratman, 6-2 Forward, Junior from New Palestine, Indiana

BIG EAST Preseason Poll
1) DePaul (8) - 79 Points
2) Creighton (2) - 67 Points
3) St. John's - 62 Points
4) Villanova - 56 Points
5) Marquette - 55 Points
6) Georgetown - 36 Points
7) Butler - 31 Points
8) Providence - 25 Points
9) Xavier - 20 Points
10) Seton Hall - 19 Points

Preseason All-BIG EAST Team
Daress McClung, Butler, G/F, Sr., 6-0, Indianapolis, Ind.
Marissa Janning, Creighton, G, So., 5-8, Watertown, Minn.
Sarah Nelson, Creighton, F, Sr., 6-0, Omaha, Neb.
Jasmine Penny, DePaul, F, Sr., 6-1, Logansport, Ind.
Andrea White, Georgetown, F, 6-0, Sr., Lancaster, Va.
Katherine Plouffe, Marquette, F, Sr., 6-3, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Tori Rule, Providence, Jr., G, 5-7, Minneapolis, Minn.
Aliyyah Handford, St. John's, G, So., 5-9, Newark, N.J.
Ka-Deidre Simmons, Seton Hall, G, R-Jr., 5-8, Newark, N.J.
Caroline Coyer, Villanova, G, So., 5-10, Oak Hill, Va.

1,000 Point Club
Senior Daress McClung scored 508 points during her junior season. The standout transfer from Cincinnati has a chance to become just the 22nd player in Butler women's basketball history to reach 1,000 career points. McClung would be the first Bulldog to accomplish the feat in just two years. The last Bulldog to reach 1,000 career points was Brittany Bowen who attended Butler from 2007-11. She ended her career with 1,4,61 points, the fifth-most in Butler history.

McDivitt for 3!
Senior Mandy McDivitt has 113 career 3-point field goals placing her 10th all-time in the Butler record book. McDivitt recorded 25 3-point field goals as a freshman and ironically hit 47 3-point field goals during both her sophomore and junior seasons giving her a grand total of 113. Jackie Closser (04-07) is the career 3-point field goal record holder with 271.

More Minutes, No Problem
Junior Taylor Schippers averaged 34.5 minutes of playing time per game last season. She ended the year with 1,068 total minutes of court time placing her sixth all-time at Butler for most minutes played in a single-season. Schippers started in all 31 games for the Bulldogs while leading the team in assists and 3-point field goals made.

Couture Eyes Win #200 at Butler
Head Coach Beth Couture has more wins at the helm of the women's basketball program than any other coach at Butler. She passed Linda Mason who coached at Butler from 1976-84, winning 124 games during that time frame. Couture enters her 12th season at the program with 178 wins as a Bulldog. Her overall career record is 436-275 (24 seasons).

Butler in the WNIT
The Bulldogs have participated in the WNIT four times in the past five years. The team advanced into the second round of the tournament in 2008-09. Butler also has first round appearances in 2009-10, 2010-11 and most recently in 2012-13.

2012-13 Season Opener
Butler lost at Marquette 73-62 in the 2012-13 regular season opener. The Bulldogs were led by Taylor Schippers who scored a team-high 20 points and Daress McClung who ended the night with a double-double, posting 19 points and 10 rebounds. Mandy McDivitt added 10 points as only the five starters scored for Butler.

The Bulldogs made a 7-2 run to make it 37-29 at halftime, but Marquette pulled away in the second half by shooting 5-for-9 from 3-point range. Butler would score in spurts, but the score wouldn't get any closer than 56-44 down the stretch.

Home Cookin'
Butler only has four non-conference road games on the schedule in 2013-14. The team will play three of their first four games of the season at Hinkle Fieldhouse with the lone road game coming at Eastern Michigan on Nov. 13. The final three road non-conference games of the season are all in the state of Indiana as Butler will travel to face the Hoosiers, Crusaders, and Sycamores before the start of BIG EAST play on Dec. 28.

Up Next
The first road game of the season will be played at Eastern Michigan on Wednesday, Nov. 13. The team will follow up with a pair of home games against St. Mary's on Saturday, Nov. 16 and vs. Bowling Green on Monday, Nov. 18.