No. 6 Seed Butler to Face No. 3 Seed Creighton in Quarterfinals
Twitter - @ButlerWBB
INDIANAPOLIS – The Butler women's basketball team will face Creighton in the quarterfinals of the 2014 BIG EAST Women's Basketball Tournament. The Bulldogs ended the regular season on a three-game winning streak, their longest of the season, as they attempt to keep the streak alive throughout the tournament.
Date: Sunday, March 9, 2014 / 3:30 PM
Location: Rosemont, Ill. / Allstate Arena (18,500)
Live Stats: BIGEAST.com
Series History: Butler leads the all-time series vs. Creighton 2-0
Last Meeting: Butler defeated Creighton 67-59 on March 4
Scouting Creighton (18-12, 12-6 BIG EAST)
The Bluejays earned the No. 3 seed in the BIG EAST tournament by recording a conference record of 12-6. The team enters Sunday having lost their last two games of the regular season, including a 67-59 setback to the Bulldogs in the season finale. Marissa Janning, Sarah Nelson and McKenzie Fujan are the top scoring threats for Creighton heading into the tournament.
Janning scored 548 points during the regular season as a sophomore, posting an impressive 18.3 points per game. She led the team in 3-point field goals with 76 makes and was also the team's free throw leader, cashing in on 124 (86.1%).
Nelson and Fujan are options No. 2 and 3 for head coach Jim Flanery as each player averages 12 points per game. Nelson is a threat to score and rebound inside while Fujan is more of a wing player. The two teammates are close in many regards as they each shoot nearly 45 percent from the floor and 35 percent from 3-point range. Nelson is the team leader in rebounds, averaging 7.9 per contest and Fujan is the team leader in steals with 27.
Last Time Out
Butler defeated Creighton on Tuesday night by the final score of 67-59, becoming the first BIG EAST team to win at D.J. Sokol Arena this season. Daress McClung posted 20 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the regular season finale to give Butler an overall record of 15-14. Four Bulldogs reached a double figure scoring total with Mandy McDivitt scoring 13, Taylor Schippers adding 12, and Liz Stratman posting 11.
McClung and Schippers were clutch down the stretch scoring 11-straight points in crunch time. Schippers hit a 3-point field goal from the top of the key with 3:56 to play that gave the Bulldogs a boost and the tandem of Schippers and McClung went back and forth from the free throw line to ice the game.
Janning kept CU alive in the first half scoring 13 of the Bluejays 25 points. She ended the game with 20 points, but was slowed down considerably by the stellar on ball defense played by McDivitt.
Butler leads the all-time series over Creighton by sweeping the Bluejays during the 2013-14 regular season series. The Bulldogs recorded a 58-52 home win in the first-ever meeting and then knocked off Creighton 67-59 at D.J Sokol Arena to become the only conference team to win at Creighton this season.
Daress McClung only played in one of the two games during the regular season as she missed the game at Hinkle Fieldhouse with a foot injury. In the second meeting, McClung scored 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting while also leading the team with seven rebounds. She hit all six of her free throw attempts to help Butler ice the game and she came up big defensively with four steals.
Liz Stratman and Taylor Schippers also averaged a double figure scoring total against Creighton this season. Stratman averaged 13.5 points and eight rebounds during the first two meetings. Schippers scored 23 combined points giving her an average of 11.5 ppg.
Looking at the other bench, Marissa Janning and McKenzie Fujan are the top performers for the Bluejays when facing Butler. Janning, the 2013-14 BIG EAST Player of the Year, averaged 14 points in two games vs. Butler. She shot just 26 percent from the floor and 30 percent from 3-point range. Fujan is equally important to the team with a 13.5 scoring average.
Players to keep an eye on Sunday include Mandy McDivitt for Butler and Brianna Rollerson for Creighton. McDivitt takes on the defensive stopper role for Butler which on Sunday will mean slowing down Janning head-to-head. The senior also impacts the game offensively with her 3-point shot. Rollerson only played six minutes in the first matchup, but came out with a 13 point, 10 rebound double-double at D.J. Sokol Arena on March 4.
- Butler swept Creighton during the regular season series (W, 58-52 / W, 67-59)
- The Bulldogs were the only BIG EAST team to win at Creighton this season
- BU hit 20 field goals in each game shooting 38.5 and 41.7 percent from the field
- Butler has been better from the line hitting 34-of-43 compared to 17-of-29 from CU
- Liz Stratman was named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year
- Daress McClung was named Second Team All-BIG EAST
- Marissa Janning of CU was named BIG EAST Player of the Year
- Stratman leads the BIG EAST with 70 blocked shots (2.6 per game)
- Stratman moved to 5th all-time at Butler for most blocked shots in a season (70)
- Mandy McDivitt moved to 3rd all-time at Butler with 169 career 3-point field goals
#3 Haley Howard, 5-11 Forward, Redshirt Sophomore from Whiteland, Indiana
#5 Liz Stratman, 6-2 Center, Junior from New Palestine, Indiana
#10 Mandy McDivitt, 5-8 Guard, Senior from Connersville, Indiana
#21 Daress McClung, 6-0 Forward, Senior from Indianapolis, Indiana
#23 Lexus Murry, 5-7 Guard, Sophomore from Indianapolis, Indiana
3 Years... 3 Conferences
The Butler Bulldogs were part of the Horizon League for 11 years before making the switch to the Atlantic 10 in 2012-13. The conference change to the A-10 was only the beginning as Butler joined the BIG EAST conference at the start of the 2013-14 season.
Stratman Named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year
Stratman led the BIG EAST with 70 blocked shots, a total that moved her into fifth-place all-time at Butler for most blocks in a single-season. She averaged 2.6 blocked shots per game during the regular season which landed her 21st in the NCAA. She has blocked two or more shots in 17 of Butler's 29 games this season.
Stratman recorded a career-high eight blocked shots in a road game at Seton Hall this season which moved her into a tie for third at Butler for most blocked shots recorded in a single-game.
Stratman Named All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention
A well-rounded game allowed Stratman to be named one of just three BIG EAST players to make the honorable mention all-conference team. She was second leading scorer on the team, averaging 13.2 points per game and was also second in rebounds with a 6.6 average. Stratman recently scored a career-high 28 points at Seton Hall, she scored 20 points or more in five games this season and eclipsed 10 rebounds or more on seven occasions. She ended the regular season with five double-doubles, four of which came against BIG EAST opponents.
BIG EAST Conference Rankings
Despite Butler playing as the No. 6 seed and Creighton playing at the No. 3 this game should come down to the final possession as these two teams come in evenly matched. Butler and Creighton can be found side-by-side in multiple statistical categories including: Scoring Offense, Scoring Defense, Scoring Margin, Free Throw %, 3-Point FG %, Rebounding Offense, Assists, and Assist Turnover Ratio.
McClung Tabbed Second Team All-BIG EAST
McClung served as the team leader for Butler in points (15.4) and rebounds (6.8). She heads into the BIG EAST Tournament ranked second on the team with a 47.2 field goal percentage, second on the squad in blocked shots (28), and third on the team in steals (33). The senior has six double-double performances to her credit, with two coming against BIG EAST foes.
McClung reached double figure scoring totals in 21 of her 24 games played. She eclipsed 20 points or more six times and scored a season-high 24 points at Seton Hall on 10-of-17 shooting. Additional season-high marks for McClung includes 12 rebounds vs. UIC, five assists vs. Seton Hall, four blocked shots vs. St. John's and six steals vs. Seton Hall. The versatile McClung could play guard or forward in the Butler lineup. She recorded 10 or more rebounds seven times, rejected two or more shots seven times and came up with three steals or more in five games this season.
Couture in Conference
Since taking over the women's basketball program, (2002-03) Head Coach Beth Couture has only had one losing record during conference play. The Bulldogs went 6-23 overall during the 2002-03 season, posting a conference record of 3-13. From that point forward, Couture has finished above .500 on nine occasions (including this year) and at .500 two times.
McDivitt for 3!
Senior Mandy McDivitt has 169 made 3-point field goals in her career placing her third overall in the Butler women's basketball record book. McDivitt climbed into the top three after hitting four 3-point field goals at Creighton. She passed Debbie Benziger who recorded 167 career 3-pointers from 1995-98. McDivitt leads the team with 56 made 3-point field goals this season. She was able to reach this plateau by hitting 25 3-point field goals as a freshman, 47 as a sophomore, and 41 as a junior.
Butler is on the top half of the bracket with No. 2 St. John's, No. 3 Creighton, No. 7 Seton Hall and No. 10 Providence. If the Bulldogs beat the Bluejays on Sunday they could face the winner of the 7-10 game or St. John's on Monday, if the Red Storm earn a win in their quarterfinal matchup. The championship game is slated for Tuesday, March 11.