February 26, 2005

Bulldogs Close Regular Season with 63-54 Win Over Loyola

Feb. 26, 2005

Box Score

Butler out-scored visiting Loyola, 38-20, in the second half, using 10 three-pointers and four players in double figures to take a 63-54 Senior Day win Saturday afternoon at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Seniors Cortney Urquhart and Maria Marchesano tied for the team-lead with 14 points apiece in their last home game. With the win, Butler improves to 14-13 overall and 8-8 in Horizon League play. The Ramblers fall to 7-20 (4-12).

Urquhart posted her second consecutive double-double and third in her last four games with 10 rebounds in addition to her 14 points. She shot 7-of-13 from the field, including hitting five of seven attempts in the second half as Butler erased a 34-25 halftime deficit. Marchesano did most of her damage in the first half, hitting for 11 of her 14 in the first 20 minutes. She was 4-of-7 from three-point range.

"Our seniors were huge today," said coach Beth Couture. "We were able to start all three and they responded for us. I wish we could have gotten Courtney (Lickliter) some more playing time today, but all three contributed in what turned out to be a tough win. We started to hit some shots in the second half, but more importantly we played solid defense on their backcourt, which we didn't do up at their place. That was the key today. We're looking forward to the tournament. I'm pleased with how we're playing at this point."

Sophomore Jackie Closser's three-pointer with 9:53 remaining in the second half gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game at 47-46. Butler would not trail again. Closser had 13 points and seven assists and Ellen Hamilton chipped in 13 points as well, hitting three of her four long-range tries.

Loyola got out of the gates strong, shooting 50 percent in the first half to lead by as many as 12 before taking a 34-25 lead into the intermission. Butler shot just 32 percent in the first half and committed 10 turnovers to just four for Loyola. But the momentum swung quickly as Butler hit its first four shots of the second half and 57 percent of their tries in the half. Loyola went cold, shooting just 28 percent in the closing 20 minutes.

Butler shot 43 percent for the game and hit 10 of 20 three-point attempts. The Bulldogs also held a 37-34 advantage on the boards. Loyola shot 38 percent for the game, but hit only one three-pointer after coming into the contest averaging more than six treys per game.

Loyola's senior backcourt of Ciara Henderson and Meskhenet Lands combined for just 10 points on 4-of-24 shooting. The duo averages 26.4 points per game and went for 33 in the first meeting between the teams 10 days ago.

Butler opens Horizon League Tournament action Thursday at UIC. The Bulldogs are the fifth seed, while the host Flames occupy the fourth spot. The game can be heard live on www.butlersports.com.