November 30, 2005

Big Plays in Overtime Lead to 80-78 Win Over Eastern Illinois

Nov. 30, 2005

Box Score

Freshman Lade Akande's block of Megan Edwards' jumper as time expired sealed an 80-78 overtime win for Butler over Eastern Illinois in Charleston, Ill., Wednesday night. Eight Jackie Closser points in the extra period put the Bulldogs in position to take the win. Closser led Butler with 20 points, as the Bulldogs improve to 2-2, while the Panthers fall to 0-4.

Butler held a 10-point lead with eight minutes to go before EIU mounted a comeback. Led by senior Megan Sparks' 14 second-half points, the Panthers re-gained the lead for the first time since early in the first half on Sparks' runner with 4:11 remaining in regulation. Sparks led all scorers with 26 points.

"We got in foul trouble and Eastern Illinois really came out more aggressive in the second half," said coach Beth Couture. "We got tentative at times, probably because of our foul trouble. Jackie made some big shots down the stretch and in overtime after Ellen hit a lot early on. In the last three minutes, Lade really came alive for us with some blocks and rebounds. That was a huge play she made at the end."

The teams would go back and forth until EIU held a 69-67 lead after another Sparks bucket with 21 seconds to play in the second half. After several screens trying to get Butler's shooters open were unsuccessful, Closser turned the corner and got to the hole for a contested lay-up. Closser then took a charge on Edwards with two seconds remaining to force the extra period.

Closser hit two three-pointers in overtime and teamed with Ellen Hamilton to hit five free throws in the final minute for the final margin. Hamilton finished with 19 points, hitting all four of her three-point attempts, while Carla Gheorghe added 12. Gheorghe fouled out early in the overtime period and Hamilton and Akande both missed time in the second half with four fouls.

Butler shot 42 percent from the field, including 9-of-17 shooting from three-point range. Akande and Stephanie Boeke tied for the team-lead with 10 rebounds. Butler had to overcome 25 turnovers and 20 offensive rebounds by the Panthers for the victory. The Bulldogs connected on 21 of 27 free throw attempts.

A Hamilton three with 11:47 remaining in the first half capped an 11-0 Butler run to turn a 12-7 deficit into an 18-12 advantage. Butler never relinquished the lead and took a 36-28 margin into the locker room. Hamilton, behind 3-of-3 shooting from long range, led all scorers with 13 in the first half. Ten of Gheorghe's total came in the first 20 minutes.

The Bulldogs return to action Sunday against Indiana State as part of the State Farm Hoosier Classic in Muncie, Ind. The 2 p.m. tip at Worthen Arena on the Ball State campus will be followed by the Valparaiso-Ball State contest. The game can be heard live on www.butlersports.com.