March 4, 2004
Freshman Jackie Closser scored 11 of the Bulldogs' final 14 points Thursday, sealing a 69-59 win at Cleveland State in the quarterfinals of the Horizon League Tournament. Closser posted a game-high 17 points on the night. With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 14-14 on the season and advance to the semifinals Sunday. The Vikings fall to 12-16 on the year, losing to the Bulldogs for the second time in eight days.
Senior Nancy Bowden had 14 points and 12 assists, committing just three turnovers in her 40 minutes of action. Cortney Urquhart added 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field. Butler limited the Vikings to 38 percent shooting, including league first-team performers Shannon Sword and Ashley Schrock's combined 9-of-27 effort.
The Bulldogs, winners of four straight, enjoyed their largest lead of the night at 54-42 after a Bowden three-pointer with 10:29 to play. Cleveland State responded with a 10-1 over the next four minutes before a Closser three gave the Bulldogs' some breathing room. Despite hitting only 12-of-21 free throws on the night, Butler hit enough down the stretch to seal the win.
The Bulldogs shot 44 percent (25-57) on the night, including 7-of-23 from long range. Butler's pressure forced the Vikings into 16 turnovers, while the Bulldogs only had 12 miscues (including just three in the first half). Cleveland State won the rebounding battle 41-38, but struggled from both the free throw line (11-19) and from behind the arc (2-15).
Down 26-20, the Bulldogs went on a 19-6 run starting with a Maria Marchesano trey at the 6:47 mark of the first frame. She would add another three during the stretch that Closser capped with a bomb from the left corner with nineteen seconds to play, giving the Bulldogs a 39-32 lead. Cleveland State's Maria Rickards hit a three for the Vikings at the first half horn to trim the Butler advantage to 39-35 at the half.
"All-Horizon League" performers Bowden and the Vikings' Sword led their teams in the first half, each posting nine points. Bowden added nine assists to her first half statsheet. The game's third first team selection (CSU's Schrock) had to go to the bench for the Vikings with 5:09 to play in the first half after picking up her second personal foul.
Keena Rembert and Sword led the Vikings with 13 points, while Schrock added 12. The Bulldogs never trailed after taking a 34-32 lead on two Bowden free throws with just over two minutes to play in the first half.
Butler, the tournament's fifth seed, travels to Milwaukee for the semifinals Sunday. Waiting there for the Bulldogs will be top-seeded UW-Green Bay, who defeated Wright State Thursday evening. The tip is scheduled for 2 p.m. (CST, 3 p.m. Indianapolis time) and will be broadcast live on www.butlersports.com.