November 17, 2006

Butler Holds Off Bradley In Home Opener, 85-73

Nov. 17, 2006

Box Score

Indianapolis, Ind. - Butler battled Bradley through 12 lead changes and 14 ties before pulling away at the end in claiming an 85-73 home-opening victory at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Friday (Nov. 17). The Bulldogs used 62.5 percent shooting from the field in the second half to lead them to a comfortable victory in the final minutes.

Things did not begin easily as the two teams fought through a nip-and-tuck first half, with Bradley pushing ahead to a five-point lead at 9-4 three minutes into the contest before the Bulldogs fought back to go up by their largest first-half margin at 23-17 midway through the period. The Braves slowly caught up before taking a one-point lead into the locker room.

Sophomore Lade Akande opened the second-half scoring for the Bulldogs, hitting Butler's first three shots of the half to build a 41-38 lead. Bradley again responded to the challenge, using a 14-7 run capped on a three-pointer by Erika Nelson to take a 52-48 advantage at the 11:16 mark.

Butler went right back at it moments later, as Akande cut the lead to one on lay-up and an ensuing free-throw before senior Jackie Closser registered the last lead-change of the night on a lay-in for a 53-52 Butler advantage.

The Braves kept things close over the next five minutes before a lay-up by Kelly Krumwiede at 5:47 tied the game for the final time at 65-65. From there, the Bulldogs used an 18-5 run over the final minutes, thanks in part to a flawless 12-of-12 mark at the free-throw line.

"This was a real team effort from us tonight," head coach Beth Couture said. "We needed different people at different times, and we made plays when we needed to."

Four Bulldog players finished with double-figure scoring totals, led by Akande's 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field. Junior Cassie Freeman added 15 points and a game-high eight rebounds, while senior Jackie Closser registered a double-double on 14 points and a career-high 11 assists. Senior Ellen Hamilton added 10 points.

Despite some struggles at from behind the arc, Closser extended her three-pointers-made streak to 30 games, going 1-for-9 against the Braves. As a team, the Bulldogs finished 7-for-20 from three-point and 22-for-27 from the charity stripe.

"Cassie [Freeman] was solid for us on both ends of the floor," Couture added. "She did all the little things that we needed to keep us in the game.

"Jackie [Closser] didn't have her best night shooting, but she really battled and played through it."

The Bulldogs travel to Anchorage, Alaska this weekend for the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. Butler takes on UC Riverside on Tuesday (Nov. 21) beginning at 8:00 p.m. Alaska Time (12:00 midnight Eastern Time).