Butler Holds Off Feisty Ramblers, 71-63

Feb. 14, 2009

Box Score

Chicago, Ill. - Brittany Bowen and Susan Lester each notched a team-high 18 points, Lade Akande added 12 and the Bulldogs hung on against a determined Loyola team to score a 71-63 victory on Saturday (Feb. 14) at the Joseph J. Gentile Center.

Butler improves to 16-8 on the year and 11-2 in Horizon League play, while Loyola drops to 6-16 overall and 1-11 in conference.

The Bulldogs took advantage of 18 points from the free throw line and a whopping 42 in the paint while converting 19 off Loyola turnovers.

A game that featured eight lead changes and seven ties saw the Bulldogs trail by as much as seven and lead by as many as 11 during the 40 minute contest between one of the league's top defensive teams and best shooting squads.

Loyola jumped out to an early advantage in the contest, as the Ramblers used an 11-0 surge in the opening minutes to turn a four-point Butler lead into a seven-point deficit.

The Bulldogs would turn the table, however, riding a 16-2 run over their own to jump back in front 20-13 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the half. After battling back to even at 13-13, Devin Brierly and Lester canned back-to-back threes before two more lay-ins by Lester pushed Butler out to a seven point margin.

The lead increased to as much as 10 at 25-15 with just over seven minutes left, as Melanie Thornton converted a pair of lay-ups and a bonus free throw.

Loyola would not go quietly, though, as the Ramblers rode a 13-4 run down the stretch to close to within one at 29-28 heading into the break.

The game remained tight in the early part of the second half, as the two sides traded the lead five times and drew even on six occasions over the opening eight-plus minutes alone.

A jumper by Bowen and an old-fashioned three-pointer by Chloe Hamilton turned what had been a 43-43 tie into a five-point Butler edge.

The Ramblers crawled back to within in one over the next five minutes, as a three-point play by Elyse VanBogaert cut the difference to 53-52, but an ensuing 12-2 surge - keyed by six points from Bowen and four from Lester - bumped the Butler margin out to a game-high 11 at 65-54 with less than three minutes to go.

Loyola managed to trim the difference to five with under a minute left, but the rally would fall short in the end.

Butler finished with a 36-26 edge on rebounds, including an impressive 14-5 advantage on the offensive glass that helped the Bulldogs to a 13-4 margin on second chance scoring.

Bowen finished with a 6-of-12 effort from the field and a perfect 5-for-5 mark from the free throw line for 18 points and added six rebounds. Lester added 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting and 5-of-6 from the stripe and posted a game-high seven boards.

Akande rounded out the double-figure scorers with 12 points and chipped in five rebounds. Terra Burns added eight points and a team-best six assists, while Thornton finished with five points and six rebounds.

Butler will have a week off from competition before closing out its three-game road trip at Valparaiso on Saturday, Feb. 21, beginning at 2:35 p.m. ET (1:35 p.m. CT).