Second Half Rally Pushes Butler Past Detroit, 67-63
Indianapolis, Ind. - Lade Akande tallied a team-high 17 points, Brittany Bowen added 10 and the Bulldogs overcame a sluggish first half on offense to pull out a 67-63 victory over visiting Detroit on Saturday (Feb. 23) at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The win gives Butler its 17th of the season, the most since the 1998-99 campaign and the most during head coach Beth Couture's six seasons at the school.
The Bulldogs had to play catch up right from the beginning, as Detroit spotted itself a 10-0 lead to start the game before building up as much as a 13-point margin (21-8) with 9:13 to go in the opening period.
After shooting just 30 percent (9-for-30) in the first half, Butler answered with a 50 percent (13-for-26) effort following the break to complete the comeback.
The Butler offense took a while to get clicking, as the Bulldogs hit just one of 14 attempts from the field in the first 10 minutes of play. The shots steadily began to fall in final half of the period, as Butler trimmed a 13-point deficit to four (23-19) thanks to an 11-2 surge over the next five-plus minutes, keyed by four points from Bowen and jumpers by Melanie Thornton, Tara Miller and Candace Bain.
A jumper by Bowen with 15 seconds to go in the half brought the Bulldogs to within three, but a last-second jumper by Chanica Hall gave the Titans a 28-23 advantage at the half.
An 11-7 trek to open the second frame brought the Bulldogs to within two before a trey by Cassie Freeman gave Butler its first lead of the night at 37-36 with just over five minutes into the period. The Bulldogs continued to push ahead, riding a 9-2 spurt, capped by a trey from Candace Jones, to give Butler its largest lead of the night at 48-40.
Detroit refused to go away, however, erasing the gap on an 8-0 run to bring the scoring even with 8:25 to go. Six points from Akande and a triple by Miller gave the Bulldogs a 57-50 lead with less than five minutes left, but the Titans continued to pressure down the stretch, cutting the gap to as few as two before Butler converted six-of-six free throws in the final 30 seconds to secure the win.
Butler improves to 17-9 on the year and 7-8 in Horizon League play, while Detroit falls to 4-21 overall and 1-13 in the league.
Akande went 6-for-9 from the field and 5-for-8 from the line and added eight rebounds, while Bowen finished with a 4-for-10 clip from the floor and chipped in eight boards. Azjah Bass hit a try and went 6-for-6 from the line to finish with nine points.
The Bulldogs kick off their final road swing of the regular season on Thursday (Feb. 28) when they head to Youngstown, Ohio, for a 7:00 p.m. contest against Youngstown State.