Defense Rules Again As Bulldogs Top Bradley, 56-46
Peoria, Ill. - Lade Akande tallied 13 points, Candace Jones and Susan Lester finished with 12 points a piece and Butler led throughout in topping host Bradley, 56-46, at Robertson Field House in Peoria, Ill. on Tuesday (Nov. 13) night.
The Bulldogs (2-0) held the Braves (0-2) to just 33 percent shooting from the field an 1-of-5 from three point, while using four treys and a 12-of-16 mark from the free throw line to power the offense.
The win moves Butler to 2-0 for the first time since the 1992-93 season.
Butler jumped out to a 5-0 lead to start the game before Bradley came back to close the gap to one at 13-12.
Akande would take over from there, scoring 10 of her 13 first-period points in the final 10:30 to help the Bulldogs to a 10-point advantage at 26-16 with just over three minutes left in the period.
The Braves would find their shooting tough in the closing minutes, however, cutting the deficit to four before an Akande lay-up with 21 seconds to go sent Butler into the locker room with a six-point edge.
Butler came out firing out of the break, with Brittany Bowen and Lester nailing back-to-back treys to push the Bulldog advantage out to 12 at 34-22. The lead would grow to a game-high 18 with just over five minutes left, as Jones drilled a pair of free throws, a jumper and a revere lay-up to put Butler in front 50-32 with 5:09 on the clock.
Bradley would not quit, as eight points from Devyn Flanagan led a 13-2 Braves charge to close the Butler lead to seven at 52-45 with nearly two minutes left.
Jones made sure the comeback would end there, however, draining four-of-four from the charity stripe to all but seal the win.
"I'm really proud of the way we stepped up and the way we played down the stretch with the pressure Bradley was putting on us," head coach Beth Couture said. "It's good to be able to come away with a strong win on the road.
After allowing eight offensive boards in the first half, the Bulldogs allowed just two in the second while out-scoring the Braves 10-0 on second chance points.
Akande finished with a 6-for-9 mark from the field, scoring all 13 of her points in the first half. Lester added a 4-for-10 trek, including a 3-for-6 mark from three-point, and pulled in a game-high eight rebounds. Jones finished 3-for-4 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line while chipping in five boards.
"Candace was outstanding for us down the stretch, controlling our tempo and hitting some important free throws when we needed them," Couture added.
Butler gets its toughest challenge of the early season on Saturday (Nov. 17) when the Bulldogs head to West Lafayette, Ind. for a 7:00 p.m. contest against No. 23 Purdue.