January 31, 2009

Milwaukee Slips Past Bulldogs, 63-58

Jan. 31, 2009

Box Score

Milwaukee, Wis. - A potential game-tying three pointer in the final seconds by Susan Lester would just miss its mark, as host Milwaukee erased a significant second-half Butler lead before staving off a late charge to claim a 63-58 decision at the Klotsche Center on Saturday (Jan. 31) afternoon.

A 10-point Butler lead a the start of the second period disappeared in a matter of minutes, as Milwaukee rallied on a 23-6 run over a 12-minute span to take a seven-point advantage before holding on down the stretch.

With the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 12-8 on the season and 7-2 in Horizon League play. Milwaukee improves to 9-11, 4-5 in conference.

The two squads battled through a physical opening period, with neither team leading by more than four points through the first 13 minutes.

After Milwaukee cut a three-point Butler advantage down to one at 14-13 with less than seven minutes remaining in the half, Lester answered with a three-pointer - the Bulldogs' first of the game - before Lade Akande added a pair of free throws to extend the Butler lead to 19-13 with 5:56 to go.

The Panthers answered with two free throws of their own, but trey by Tara Miller just over a minute later boosted the Bulldogs to their largest lead of the period at 22-15.

A 6-0 run by Milwaukee over the next two minutes trimmed the margin back down to one, but a three-pointer and a jumper by Candace Jones in the final minute and a half gave the Bulldogs a six point cushion heading into the locker room.

The scoring surge continued after the break. After Terra Burns split a pair of free throws just seconds in, Candyce Brown drained a trey for a quick 4-0 start and a 10-point Butler advantage.

Milwaukee would respond, however, using a 16-6 surge to bring the contest back to even at 37-37 before taking a game-high eight-point advantage at 47-39 on a 10-2 burst with just over six minutes left.

Butler respond to the challenge, as a Brittany Bowen three-pointer and two makes from the line by Brown cut the difference to two with just over five minutes remaining before another triple by Lester brought the Bulldogs to within one at 53-52 with 3:29 on the clock.

The Panthers steadily built the margin back up to five with less than 30 seconds to go before a triple by Bowen put the Bulldogs within striking distance with 15 seconds left. After a quick foul on Milwaukee, Jodie McClain would split her two throws from the line to leave Butler just a three away from tying the contest, but Lester's attempt from the left corner rimmed out in the final seconds.

Butler took advantage of 216 Milwaukee turnovers, converting them into 24 points, but the Panthers would use an impressive 27 points from the free throw line to help aid their cause.

Lester came off the bench to lead the team with 13 points and six rebounds, while Bowen added 11 points.

The Butler defense managed to hold Horizon League scoring leader Traci Edwards without a field goal and just two points in the first half, but a big second half by the Milwaukee center helped lead the Panther comeback.

Butler returns to action on Friday (Feb. 6) when it hosts Wright State in a nationally-televised game (ESPNU) beginning at 9:00 p.m. at Hinkle Fieldhouse.