Butler Rally Falls Just Short, As Green Bay Holds Off Bulldogs, 58-53

Jan. 29, 2009

Box Score

Green Bay, Wis. - Butler rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit to take five-point lead with less than seven minutes to go in a battle for first place in the Horizon League standings against host Green Bay, but the Phoenix used a 6-0 surge down the stretch to hold on for a tightly-contested, 58-53, decision at the Kress Events Center on Thursday (Jan. 29) evening.

Brittany Bowen led the Bulldogs with 15 points, Susan Lester (14) and Terra Burns (12) finished in double-figures as Butler (12-7, 7-1 Horizon League) dropped its first league contest of the season to Green Bay (16-3, 8-0) in a match-up of unbeatens in the conference.

Trailing 33-23 with 16:04 left in the second, Butler rode an incredible 22-7 run to take a 43-38 lead just over 10 minutes later.

A three-pointer by Burns - the Bulldogs' first of the evening - cut the difference to seven before another triple by Candace Jones and an old-fashioned three by Burns helped to bring Butler back to within three with 11:43 remaining.

Rachel Porath banked in a lay-up to extend the margin to five just over a minute later, but it would be the last make from the floor by the Phoenix for nearly four and a half minutes, as Butler held Green Bay to just two missed field goal attempts while riding a 10-0 run to 43-38 lead.

A three-point play by Lester and a jumper by Bowen brought the contest back to even for the first time since early in the first before an ensuing three-pointer by Bowen gave the Bulldogs their first lead since just over three minutes into the game.

Burns would convert a pair of makes from the line moments later to give Butler its largest lead of the night with 6:49 remaining, but a three-pointer by Erin Templin - which broke Green Bay's field goal drought - and two free throws by Celeste Hoewisch evened the scoring for the sixth time of the night.

After trading buckets and finding themselves tied twice more over the next two minutes, the Phoenix would get a lay-up and a pair of free throws to take a 52-48 lead with 1:14 on the clock.

Lester stepped up seconds later, draining a huge three-pointer to bring the Bulldogs back to within in one, but a jumper and a pair of free throws by Porath gave the Phoenix a five-point edge with less than 30 seconds to go. Two makes from the line by Bowen trimmed the deficit back down to three, but Porath would drain two more to put the game out of reach.

Butler kept the contest close in the early part of the first half before the Phoenix steadily pulled away before the break.

After Green Bay took a four-point edge in the opening minutes, the Bulldogs rallied for six straight of their own on a lay-up by Candyce Brown, a pair of free throws by Burns and a jumper by Lade Akande.

The Phoenix would respond, however, using a 9-2 surge to go up by five before a 7-0 push opened up a 10-point advantage at 22-12 with less than seven minutes to go in the half.

A jumper by Lester and a split pair of free throws by Akande brought the Bulldogs back to within seven less than a minute later, but Butler could get no closer down the stretch as Green Bay took a 27-19 lead into the locker room.

The loss snaps the Bulldogs' eight-game winning streak while giving them just their first defeat in league play. Despite holding the Phoenix six points below their season average, the 58 points allowed ended Butler's run of eight-straight games limiting opponents to 50 or fewer points - the longest such streak in school history.

Butler out-shot Green Bay, 40 percent to 39 percent in the game despite a sluggish start. After shooting just 35 percent (8-for-23) from the field and 0-for-3 from three-point range in the first half, the Bulldogs erupted for a 46 percent (10-for-22) effort from the floor and a 4-for-7 mark (57 percent) from beyond the arc.

Butler also out-rebounded the Phoenix, 31 to 28, and held an 18 to four edge in points off the bench.

Bowen finished with a 6-for-9 effort from the field to lead the way with 15 points, while Lester added a 6-of-11 mark for 14 points and chipped in a team-high seven rebounds. Burns, meanwhile, hit 2-of-6 from the floor and a 7-for-8 mark from the line for 12 points.

The Bulldogs return to action on Saturday (Jan. 31) when they take on host Milwaukee beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET (2:00 p.m. CT) in the Klotsche Center.