Nov. 30, 2004
Butler used nine second-half treys to overcome a 20-point, second-half deficit and pull out a thrilling 57-54 win over Western Michigan in Kalamazoo, Mich., Tuesday night. Sophomore Jackie Closser and senior Maria Marchesano each went for a team-high 17, as Butler won its fourth straight game and improved to 4-1 on the year. The host Broncos, a quarterfinalist in last season's WNIT, fall to 0-4 on the year.
The Broncos scored the first 12 points of the contest and led by 20 on two occasions during the first frame. Marchesano hit two three-pointers in the final minute of the first half to send the Bulldogs into the locker room with a 34-18 deficit to overcome. Her six points led Butler at the half. WMU held the Bulldogs to 19-percent shooting in the first half. But the Bulldogs came out of the intermission on fire.
"We really challenged the team at halftime," said coach Beth Couture. "We were disappointed with our play in the first half and we talked to the team about accountability and effort. At the end, we told them it wasn't a morale speech, we thought we could come back and win this game."
After the Broncos scored the first four points of the half, the Bulldogs countered with a 15-2 run to cut the 38-18 deficit at 17:59 to seven at 40-33 as Closser hit one of her five second-half threes with 13:26 to play. Closser found a streaking Stephanie Boeke for a fast break lay-up to tie the score at 45 with 7:10 to play. The Bulldogs' first lead of the game came a minute and a half later as senior Cortney Urquhart, playing in her home state of Michigan, hit a lay-up after all five players had touched the ball on the possession. Marchesano iced the game by hitting two free throws with 23 seconds to go. The Broncos' last real opportunity to tie the game was thwarted by an over-and-back violation.
"Shooting is contagious and once Jackie and Maria started hitting some shots, we really got our confidence back," said Couture. "Once we cut it to ten so quick, we knew we had a great chance to pull this off. This is a big game, a big comeback for this team and our program."
Closser had five assists and once again tied her career-high with eight rebounds, as Western Michigan held a slight 41-37 edge on the glass. Junior Jessica Monaco came off the bench to post seven points and seven rebounds. Marchesano hit 5-of-10 from behind the line.
Butler shot 47 percent in the second half, including 9-of-19 from three-point range. The Bulldogs out-scored WMU, 39-20, in the second frame. In contrast, the Broncos could only manage 31 percent shooting in the last 20 minutes. Carrie Moore led the home team with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Bulldogs finish off their four-game road trip Saturday (Dec. 4) against Valparaiso in the State Farm Classic (formerly the Hoosier State Classic). Indiana State hosts the four-team event in Terre Haute, Ind. Butler and the Crusaders are the first game of the doubleheader and are scheduled for a noon start. Butler returns home Wednesday, Dec. 8 to host Miami (Ohio) in a 7 p.m. tip at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Both games will be broadcast live at www.butlersports.com.