Indianapolis, Ind. - Junior Lade Akande tallied a game-high 23 points and sophomore Susan Lester added 12 as the Bulldogs held on for a 59-58 victory over visiting Ohio at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday (Nov. 10) afternoon.
Trailing by one at 58-57 with just over two minutes remaining in the game, Akande put what would be the winning points on the board with a tough lay-up in traffic off a pass from junior Tara Miller.
The Bulldogs would cling to the one-point margin despite four missed free throws in the final 50 seconds by forcing a pair of Bobcat turnovers and two errant field goal attempts, including a game-ending turnover as time expired.
The Bulldogs turned to the long range shot in the early going, with Lester getting things started right out of the gates by drilling the first field goal attempt of the night from downtown for an early Butler lead.
The Bulldogs steadily worked their way out in front and built up as much as a 10 point advantage with just over three minutes left in the first period after Lester's second trey of the night put Butler up 31-21.
Ohio would close the gap in the final minutes of the period, using a 7-1 run at the end of the half to cut the lead to four at 32-28 heading into the locker room.
The Bobcats continued to creep back into the game in the second half and brought the match even at 44-44 with 11:25 remaining. Butler went back ahead by five less than three minutes later at 51-46 thanks to a lay-up by Candace Jones and a triple from Miller, but an 8-2 run by Ohio gave the Bobcats their first lead since the six minutes into the game.
The two squads would trade the lead four more times before Akande's clutch lay-up lifted the Bulldogs to the lead for the final time of the night.
Butler's three-point success proved to be a big difference maker, as the Bulldogs nailed six triples to the Bobcats' one despite netting five fewer field goals (18 to 23).
Akande finished with 8-of-11 shooting from the field and a strong 7-of-9 mark from the free throw line while pulling in six rebounds. Lester went 3-for-11 from the field, including a pair of threes, and added a 4-for-4 clip from the charity stripe while chipping in six boards.
Miller finished with 3-of-6 shooting from the field and two treys to post eight points.
Butler hits the road on Tuesday (Nov. 13) when they travel to Peoria, Ill. to take on Bradley beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET at Robertson Field House.