February 23, 2006

Butler Turns Away Visiting Cleveland State, 75-62

Feb. 23, 2006

Box Score

Freshman Lade Akande registered 25 points and 10 rebounds, leading host Butler to a 75-62 win over Cleveland State Thursday evening at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Akande went 10-of-14 from the field, posting her seventh double-double and 11th 20+ point performance of the season. With the win, Butler improves to 14-12 overall and 9-6 in Horizon League play. Cleveland State falls to 4-23 (2-14).

"Lade was huge in the post for us tonight," said coach Beth Couture. "We did a great job getting the ball inside, really being unselfish in the backcourt to pound it inside. We out-rebounded another opponent and 12 steals is a little uncharacteristic for us, but tonight we stopped their runs with defense. That's something we've stressed lately. This is a big win for us at a key time in the season."

Junior point guard Jackie Closser hit four three-pointers and went 6-of-6 from the free throw line for 18 points. She added five assists. Sophomore Cassie Freeman's nine points came on three treys, while freshman Candyce Brown chipped in seven points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals.

Butler opened the game by scoring on its first four possessions and took a 12-2 lead less than four minutes into the contest. Cleveland State responded to tie the game for the only time at 15. The Bulldogs then scored 14 of the next 16 points to take a 29-17 lead and went into the locker rooms with a 37-26 advantage. Fifteen of Akande's total came in the opening 20 minutes.

Akande scored seven points in a 10-2 Butler run to open the second half to push the advantage to 16 at 47-31 five minutes after the intermission. But Cleveland State would not go quietly, as the Vikings scored the next nine points. The Vikings could never get closer than six, which they did just once at 53-47 with 9:52 to play. Closser scored seven of Butler's last 11 points, including six at the free throw line, to seal the win.

Butler shot 43 percent for the game, hitting 10-of-22 from behind the arc. The Bulldogs also enjoyed a large advantage at the free throw line, going 19-of-27, compared to just 7-of-11 for CSU. Butler out-rebounded the Vikings, 36-29, and forced the visitors into 18 turnovers.

Cleveland State shot 46 percent from the field and was led by Indianapolis native Omega Harrington's 15 points. Natalie Miller added 14.

The Bulldogs conclude the regular season Saturday, hosting UW-Green Bay at Hinkle Fieldhouse for a 2 p.m. matinee. Butler's four seniors and the team's four-year student play-by-play announcer Josh Rattray will be honored in a pre-game ceremony. Butler controls its own destiny in terms of hosting a Horizon League quarterfinal game, as a win Saturday would guarantee a top-four finish in the league standings. Live video of the game will be available on both www.butlersports.com and www.horizonleague.com.