Championship Bid Falls Short, As No. 22 UW-Green Bay Ousts Bulldogs, 91-64
March 11, 2007
Green Bay, Wis. - No. 22 UW-Green Bay took a page from the Butler playbook in the Horizon League Championship game on Sunday (March 11) afternoon, using an onslaught of three-pointers in denying the Bulldogs the league title in a 91-64 decision at the Phoenix Sports Center.
After using the three-pointer to drive their offense in defeating UIC in the tournament semifinals on Friday (March 9), Butler found itself at the receiving end against the Phoenix, as UW-Green Bay hit 15-of-29 from long range in the game to earn the Horizon League's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs were put in an early hole, as the Phoenix opened the game with a 20-3 run for a lead that they would never relinquish. UWGB finished with nine triples in the first half alone, including a 3-of-3 mark from Amanda Popp.
Butler countered with strong outside shooting of its own, connecting on 13-of-27 from distance, but a 57.4 percent efficiency from the field by UWGB spoiled a solid 46 percent output from the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs brought the game back to a manageable deficit in the final minutes of the first half, trimming the shortcoming to 13 thanks to a pair of lay-ups by freshman Mel Thornton and a triple from senior Jackie Closser to close the period.
Foul trouble and sluggish shooting in the second half handicapped any chance of a comeback, however, as the Phoenix continued to pour on the offense with six more triples.
Closser led the way for Butler with 23 points coming on 7-of-14 shooting from three. Her seven makes from downtown tied her own Butler record as well as the Horizon League Tournament record for makes in a game. Meanwhile, her streak of games with a three-pointer made came to an end at 59 games, just one shy of the NCAA Division I mark of 60.
Sophomore guard Candace Jones finished in double-figures with 13 points off the bench, while Thornton added nine points and four rebounds.
Closser earned a spot on the all-tournament team after helping the Bulldogs to a win over UIC in the tournament semifinals with a game-high 25 points before pacing the team again in the title game.
Tournament MVP Nicole Soulis led the Phoenix with a double-double, tallying 21 points and 13 rebounds, while Popp added 18 points.
The Bulldogs conclude the 2006-07 campaign with a 16-15 regular season mark and an 11-5 mark in Horizon League play. Butler's second-place finish and 11 league wins are the most since the 1997-98 season, while the 16 overall victories are the most since 1998-99.