Second-Half Surge Comes Up Short, As Bulldogs Fall To Green Bay, 69-64
Feb. 28, 2009
Indianapolis, Ind. - Azjah Bass and Susan Lester came off the bench to score a combined 26 points, Brittany Bowen added 12 and the Bulldogs tallied 45 second-half points to cut a 17-point deficit to five, but the effort would fall just short, as visiting Green Bay hung on for a 69-64 decision on Saturday (Feb. 28) afternoon at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
After scoring just 19 points on 32 percent shooting in the opening stanza before heading into the break trailing by 12, the Butler offense hit 59 percent for 45 points in the second to turn a potential run-away into a hotly-contested final few minutes before time ran out on the comeback.
Butler drops to 17-10 on the year and 12-4 in Horizon League play, while Phoenix improves to 25-3 overall and 17-0 in conference play.
Green Bay jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead in the opening four minutes before Lade Akande put the Bulldogs on the board with back-to-back lay-ups. The Phoenix would push its advantage out to 10 thanks to a 6-0 surge before building up as much as a 16-point margin at 28-12 with 3:38 to play in the half.
Bass would help bring the Bulldogs to within striking distance heading into the break, hitting a three-pointer and a jumper to cut the difference to 11 before laying in another basket just before the horn sounded.
Buckets by Candace Jones and Bowen at the start of the second period brought the Bulldogs to within 10 early on, but the Phoenix steadily began to pull away over the ensuing 10 minutes - thanks largely to an 8-for-10 effort from the free throw line and three three-pointers - and held a 17-point margin at 53-36 with 9:52 left in the half.
Butler would continue to battle, however, as Bass connected on another trey before following with a jumper to cut the gap to 12. After Green Bay built the lead back up to 15, Melanie Thornton dropped in a basket and Lester buried three to close to within 10 before another Lester triple brought the Bulldog to within seven at 63-56 with just over a minute remaining.
With Green Bay leading by eight with 30 seconds to go, Jones sank the Bulldogs' seventh three-pointer of the night to make it a two possession contest at 66-61. Butler had a chance to cut in deeper after Green Bay missed the back end of a pair of free throws, but the Phoenix managed to corral the offensive board before drawing a foul and hitting two more tosses to push the difference back to eight with 22 seconds remaining.
Another triple by Jones just seconds later brought the Bulldogs back to within five with seven seconds to go, but the rally would end there.
Bass finished with a season-high 14 points off the bench, hitting 6-of-8 from the field and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc, while Lester added 12 and a team-best six rebounds. Bowen chipped in 12 points of her own on 4-for-7 shooting, while Akande and Jones each finished with eight points.
The Bulldogs finished with an impressive 33-to-9 advantage in bench scoring and a 34-to-24 edge on rebounds, but Green Bay used a 27-for-36 effort from the free throw line to trump Butler's 6-of-12 mark.
Butler closes out the regular season on the road next weekend when it opens up a two-game swing through Northeast Ohio at Youngstown State on Thursday (March 5) beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Beeghly Center.