Indianapolis, Ind. - Junior Lade Akande erupted for a game-high 22 points, but the Bulldogs were unable to hold on to a five-point second-half lead, as visiting Wright State used a 17-5 trek late to claim a 65-60 decision at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Thursday (Feb. 21).
Akande led all scorers with her team-leading seventh 20+ point effort of the year on 8-for-12 shooting from the field. The remainder of the Butler squad, however, shot just 11-of-38 (28.9 percent) on the night, including a 0-for-9 stretch late in the second period that helped the Raiders rally for a seven-point advantage with 2:48 to play.
The loss drops the Bulldogs to 16-9 overall and 6-8 in the Horizon League. The Raiders, meanwhile, improve to 11-13 on the year and 8-5 in league play.
The game began well enough for the Bulldogs, as the shots were falling in the early going to help build up as much as a 10 point first-half lead.
Back-to-back lay-ups by Akande sandwiched between threes from Susan Lester and Brittany Bowen put Butler in front, 12-7, just over four minute in before another trey from Bowen and a long-range shot by Candace Jones gave Butler a 25-15 advantage with 7:48 to go in the period.
Wright State answered with a long distance effort of its own, as Sheylani Peddy and LaShawna Thomas hit triples to help the Raiders cut the difference to five at the break.
Akande pushed the Bulldog lead back to nine to start the second, netting consecutive lay-ups to put Butler ahead, 41-32, less than four minutes in.
The Raiders would rally back, however, trimming the deficit to 45-40 before riding a 17-5 surge over a nine-minute span to a 57-50 lead with less than three minutes to go.
The Bulldogs responded, as back-to-back lay-ups by Candace Bain and Cassie Freeman brought them to within four before Bowen converted a lay-in and bonus free throw to cut the deficit to 59-58 with 42 seconds left.
Butler would be unable to get any closer, however, as the Raiders sank four shots from the line in the final seconds to preserve the win.
After shooting 46.4 percent from the field with four treys in the opening stanza, the Bulldogs cooled off to a 27.3 percent rate with a 0-for-4 mark from beyond the arc in the second. Wright State, meanwhile, finished with a 57.1 percent clip in the game.
The loss gives Butler its first defeat of the season when leading at halftime. The Bulldogs had been 13-0 when holding an edge at the break.
Bowen finished with nine points and a pair of three pointers and five boards. Candyce Brown added six points, all from the free throw line, while Bain chipped in six on 3-for-3 shooting from the field.
Butler returns to action on Saturday (Feb. 23) when it hosts Detroit beginning at 12:00 noon.