Bulldogs Drop Championship Game to Wisconsin

Nov. 29, 2003

Box Score

The Bulldogs fell, 61-46, to the Badgers of Wisconsin in the championship of the Sonesta-Coconut Grove Thanksgiving Classic Saturday. Butler's Nancy Bowden and Lisa Pryor led the Bulldogs (1-4) with 11 and eight points, respectively, en route to being named to the "All-Tournament Team." Wisconsin improved to 2-1 on the season with the win.

The Badgers used their size in the frontcourt to frustrate a Butler offense that had put up 79 points Friday night against Chattanooga. Ebba Gebisa, a 6-3 junior, used her length at the top of a 1-2-2 zone to not allow the Bulldogs many open looks throughout the evening. The Bulldogs shot 27 percent from the field, including five-of-25 from three-point range.

The Badgers entered the locker room with a 26-20 lead at the half. While Wisconsin only shot 36 percent in the first 20 minutes, the Badgers out-rebounded the Bulldogs, 28-15, in the first stanza. Butler could only muster 22 percent shooting, going one-of-13 (seven percent) from behind the arc.

Wisconsin opened the second half with a 17-5 run to pull ahead 43-25 with 12:30 to play in the game. Senior Emily Ashbaugh capped the run with a three-point play. The 6-5 center had seven points during the stretch of play to open the second half. She finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds.

But the Bulldogs would mount a rally, sparked by the play of Bowden and senior Tiffany Smith. A Bowden steal in the backcourt and layup pulled the Bulldogs within four at 45-41 with 7:14 to play. But the size of Wisconsin proved too much as the Badgers pounded the ball inside to Ashbaugh and Ebba and Lello Gebisa.

Bowden led the Bulldogs with 11 points, seven assists and four rebounds. Pryor's eight points came on three-of-12 shooting. Senior Dionne Goodwin led the Bulldogs with seven boards, as Wisconsin out-rebounded Butler, 46-29, for the game.

Sophomore Jordan Wilson came off the bench to post career highs of 13 points and 15 rebounds (including 11 in the first half) for the Badgers. Ashbaugh's 22 points were a game high. Lello Gebisa, a 6-7 player from West Lafayette, Ind., added 12 points and eight rebounds. The Badgers needed the output from their interior players, as the Bulldogs held the Wisconsin backcourt of Ashley Josephson and Stephanie Rich to seven combined points on three-of-13 shooting. The duo entered the game averaging a combined 29 points per game.

Coach Beth Couture tried to counteract the Badgers' zone in a number of ways. In the first half, she played the Bulldogs' two centers, Cortney Urquhart and Ashley Brenden, together to bang with the Wisconsin frontline. After falling behind in the second half, Couture adjusted her lineup to include Bowden and fellow point guard Jackie Closser. At some points during the game, Butler featured four guards on the floor.

Bowden and Pryor were joined on the "All-Tournament Team" by Wisconsin's Wilson (MVP) and Josephson, Chattanooga's Katie Galloway, and Jade Jones of Hampton. Chattanooga defeated Hampton in the consolation game Saturday.

The Bulldogs travel to Peoria, Ill., Wednesday to take on the Bradley Braves. The game tips at 8 p.m. EST. Butler opens the home portion of its schedule Tuesday, Dec. 9, when Evansville travels to Hinkle Fieldhouse for a 7 p.m. start.