LAS VEGAS – The Butler women's basketball team improved to 2-4 on the young season with a 66-54 win over Utah on Friday night in the first game of the 2013 Las Vegas Thanksgiving Shootout. The Bulldogs shot 46 percent from the field in the first half and came up with some clutch free throw shooting in the second stanza to hold on for the victory.
Liz Stratman led Butler against Utah with a team-high 21 points and eight rebounds. The junior shot 8-for-14 from the floor and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the charity stripe.
Taylor Schippers and Mandy McDivitt also reached a double figure scoring total as Schippers scored all 11 of her points from the free throw line and McDivitt dialed in from distance to score nine of her 12 points from behind the arc.
Senior Daress McClung just missed a double-double against the Utes, ending the game with nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Haley Howard and Lexus Murray each scored two points to help BU out on Friday and the Bulldogs got nine points off the bench between Ashton Feldhaus with five and Ijeoma Uchendu with four.
Michelle Plouffe was the top performer for Utah against Butler as she walked away with a game-high 22 points and nine rebounds. Devri Owens also kept the game close with three 3-point field goals off the bench for the Utes.
The Bulldogs held a 34-27 lead at the half by shooting 46 percent from the floor (12-for-26). They held Utah to just 27 points in the second half as well.
Each team shot of 40 percent from the floor compared to just 28 percent in the second half. The Bulldogs hit 23-of-27 from the free throw line, including 16-of-18 in the second half.
The Bulldogs held a single-digit lead for a majority of the opening half. An Owens 3-pointer would get Utah within three points with 7:14 to play in the second half, but McDivitt would answer with a triple of her own minutes later to push the lead back to eight.
Plouffe scored her final points of the night at the 3:27 mark with a 3-point field goal that cut the lead to seven. Utah wouldn't get any closer as Schippers connected on six-straight free throws to push the lead to double digits.
The Bulldogs will look to ride this momentum into tomorrow night's matchup with Eastern Washington. Game time is once against scheduled for 8 p.m.