January 24, 2004

Closser Scores 20 in Bulldogs' OT Win Over Panthers

Jan. 24, 2004

Box Score

Freshman Jackie Closser posted a career-high 20 points, including six in overtime, as the Bulldogs defeated UW-Milwaukee, 67-61, Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Butler sent the game into overtime with a defensive stand at the end of regulation and used a season-high 10 three-pointers to improve their record to 7-11 overall and 3-4 in Horizon League play. With the win, the Bulldogs avenge a loss to the Panthers suffered earlier this month, as UW-Milwaukee falls to 7-9 (4-2).

Closser's 20 points came on 6-of-10 shooting, including 5-of-8 from behind the arc. The Alexandria, Ind., native added five steals and three rebounds. Closser's backcourt mate, senior Nancy Bowden, played all 45 minutes of the game, handing out 10 assists, while committing only two turnovers. Bowden added eight points, seven rebounds and four steals.

The Bulldogs forced the Panthers into 27 turnovers, while committing only 12 of their own in 45 minutes of play. Saturday's win, coupled with Wednesday's win at Youngstown State, gives the Bulldogs their first back-to-back wins in more than three years (Jan. 13 and 20, 2001), while the Bulldogs' seven wins are more than they had all of last season (6-23).

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 15-3 lead behind six quick points from freshman Ashley Brenden. The Panthers would respond with an 8-0 run of their own to pull within four. Butler limited the league's preseason "Player of the Year" Maria Viall to 1-of-5 shooting in the first half to take a 32-24 advantage at the intermission. The Panthers used a 25-13 rebounding edge in the first half to overcome 29 percent (8-28) shooting.

It was the Panthers who started quickly in the second half, as freshman Kiley Johnson's jumper from the right wing with 14:44 to play gave the Panthers their first lead of the game at 35-34. Johnson's bucket capped the Panthers' 11-2 run to start the second half. The teams then combined for 11 points over the next eight minutes, as Dionne Goodwin's layup with 6:57 to play gave the Bulldogs a 41-39 lead. The teams would trade baskets over the next six minutes before Megan Rogers' layup with 48 seconds to play in regulation knotted the game at 51.

Closser's pull-up from the free throw line with 23 seconds to play missed, but the Panthers' Kerri St. Aubin missed a jumper at the buzzer to force overtime. In the extra period, the Bulldogs scored the first five points off a Goodwin layup and a Closser three-pointer. The Panthers would get no closer than 56-53 with 3:14 to play as the Bulldogs hit nine free throws in the extra frame to hold on for the win.

The Bulldogs shot 40 percent for the game, including 10-of-24 from three-point range. The Bulldogs struggled mightily at the line, going only 9-of-20, with all the makes occurring in overtime. The Panthers held a 52-29 advantage on the boards, including a 20-9 edge on the offensive glass.

Closser was the only Bulldog in double figures. She was followed by Brenden's nine points and Bowden's six. Goodwin, Angel Mason, Ellen Hamilton and Cortney Urquhart each added six.

Viall led the Panthers with 14 points and 15 rebounds. The Bulldogs frustrated her with a packed-in zone for most of the 44 minutes she was on the floor. The 6-3 center only took 12 shots. Sophomore Anne Witte added nine points in the loss.

The Bulldogs take a week off before traveling to Dayton, Ohio, for a game against the Wright State Raiders Saturday. The tip is set for 2 p.m. The Bulldogs defeated the Raiders Dec. 30.