Butler Cools Flames To Stay Perfect, 58-48

Jan. 17, 2009

Box Score

Indianapolis, Ind. - Melanie Thornton tallied her second-straight double-double, while Terra Burns and Candace Jones each added double-figure points, as the Bulldogs used an explosive second-half on offense and another dominant defensive performance to shut-down UIC, 58-48, for their seventh win in a row on Saturday (Jan. 17) afternoon at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler remains perfect in Horizon League play with the win while holding its seventh-straight opponent to 50 or fewer points.

The Bulldogs (11-6, 6-0 Horizon) continued to ride the crushing defense that has them out to the second-best start to the conference season in program history, holding the Flames more than 17 points below their season scoring average (65.1).

The win did not come easily, however, as Butler had to play catch-up for the second straight contest. An 8-0 run by UIC midway through the opening period turned what had been an early 7-4 Bulldog lead into a five-point deficit at 12-7 with 10:31 to play in the half.

The Flames' lead grew to as much as eight at 21-13 before UIC closed the half in front by four at 25-21.

Finding itself in the same position it did less than 48 hours early, the Bulldogs rallied on the offensive end in the second half, shooting a staggering 54.2 percent (13-for-24) from the field in the period to record just its second win of the year after trailing at halftime. The Bulldogs picked up their first of the year against Loyola on Thursday (Jan. 15), rallying from a 28-26 halftime deficit for a convincing 64-45 win.

Butler steadily chipped away at the lead before a lay-up and bonus free throw by Thornton gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the half at 32-31 with 13:15 to play.

UIC battled back to even less than three minutes later, but a lay-up by Lade Akande and a jumper by Jones pushed the Bulldogs back in front by four at 40-36.

The lead swelled to 13 less than four minutes later, as a Susan Lester lay-up, a Jones trey and 2-for-2 efforts from the free throw line by Burns, Jones and Thornton powered an 11-2 Butler run that gave the Bulldogs a 51-38 advantage with under six remaining.

The Flames would cut the difference down to nine with 4:15 left, but it would be as close as they would get, as the Bulldogs held UIC to just 4-for-16 shooting from the field in the final 10 minutes of the half.

Butler controlled the inside scoring, holding a 34-26 edge on points in the paint, and converted 15 Flames' turnovers into 13 points.

For just the second time this season, the Butler bench was outscored by its opponent's, as UIC finished with a 19-16 advantage in reserve points.

Thornton finished with a game-high 12 points on 4-for-7 shooting from the field and added 11 rebounds for her second-straight double-double and her sixth of the season. Burns added 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting, while Jones tallied 10 of her own thanks largely to a 2-for-4 effort from beyond the arc.

Akande finished with nine points and six boards, while Brittany Bowen chipped in eight.

Butler will have a week off from competition before closing out its three-game homestand on Friday (Jan. 23) when it takes on in-state rival Valparaiso beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Hinkle Fieldhouse.