November 27, 2004

Bulldogs Win Billiken Classic Behind MVP Hamilton

Nov. 27, 2004

Box Score

Butler got 16 points and clutch free throw shooting from Billiken Classic MVP Ellen Hamilton to take the tournament championship with a 54-44 win over Alabama A&M Saturday night in St. Louis, Mo. Sophomores Jackie Closser and Ashley Brenden turned in All-Tournament Team performances with 11 and eight points, respectively. Butler improves to 3-1 with the win, while AAMU falls to 2-1 on the young season.

Hamilton went 6-of-6 from the line and combined with senior Maria Marchesano to drain six charity tosses in the final minute to seal the win. Butler weathered a 12-0 AAMU run midway through the second half, as a nine-point lead became a three-point deficit with 13:11 to play. A Closser three started the Bulldogs in the right direction with 10:14 to play, giving the team a 35-31 lead that they would not relinquish.

"We did a great job on the boards tonight, allowing them only eight offensive rebounds," said coach Beth Couture. "We didn't want to get in an up and down game with them and we did a great job of staying in control of the tempo and the game as a whole. This is a tremendous win for us to wrap up a solid weekend."

Butler shot 21-of-26 from the free throw line to overcome tough AAMU defense that limited the Bulldogs to 35-percent shooting and only one trey. Closser tied a career-high with eight rebounds, as Butler out-rebounded AAMU, 40-29.

Butler took a 19-12 advantage into the break behind seven points from Hamilton. Junior Stephanie Boeke added four points, as Butler struggled from the field. The Bulldogs shot only 25 percent from the field, including an 0-for-13 mark from long distance. Butler's defense stymied Alabama A&M. Butler forced the team into 12 turnovers and allowed only four field goals in the opening stanza.

Butler has a quick turnaround, as the team heads to Kalamazoo, Mich., for a Tuesday night match-up against Western Michigan. The Broncos are off to an 0-3 start, but return four starters from last season's team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the Women's NIT. The 7 p.m. EST tip will be broadcast live on www.butlersports.com. Butler finishes off its four-game road trip Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind., against Valparaiso in the Hoosier State Classic before returning to Hinkle Fieldhouse, Wednesday, Dec. 8, to face Miami (Ohio).