Dec. 9, 2003
Evansville showed up to Hinkle Fieldhouse Tuesday night for a basketball game; what they got instead was a shooting clinic put on by the Butler Bulldogs. Senior Nancy Bowden and her teammates won their home opener in a big way, posting 89 points in an 89-68 win over the Purple Aces. With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 3-5 on the season, while Evansville falls to 3-3. Bowden had a game-high 22 points and 11 assists.
Bowden shot 7-of-9 from the field, nailing all three of her long-range attempts. Freshman Ellen Hamilton also shot an identical 3-of-3 from behind the arc. The Bulldogs shot 30-57 overall for 53 percent, including a blistering 63 percent (10-16) from long range. Dionne Goodwin posted her second double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Cortney Urquhart came off the bench for 12 points, as 11 Bulldogs scored in the contest.
"I'm just really excited that we came out and did some of the things we have been doing on the road," said coach Beth Couture. "I was a little worried that we would be a little nervous with this being our home opener, but we came out and played a great game.
"I can't say enough about Nancy. Her leadership, her defense, and her play-making are what make us go."
Bowden started the Butler offensive with two quick three-pointers, as both teams opened the game 3-of-4 from the field. Lisa Pryor hit a three less than seven minutes into the game to pull the Bulldogs within one at 16-15. She would get caught by an illegal screen while playing defense on the next possession and injure her knee. She did not return to the game and will be evaluated Wednesday.
But the Bulldogs would mount a substantial rally after the teammate left the game. Goodwin's steal led to an Angel Mason fast break lay-up at the 9:55 mark in the first half. The bucket broke a 20-20 tie and the Bulldogs would not trail again. Bowden's nine points and nine assists at the break led Butler. The Bulldogs shot 50 percent (15-30) from the field in the opening 20 minutes, including 8-14 (57 percent) from three-point range. Evansville was able to keep the deficit at 44-33 at the half with a 23-14 advantage on the boards, which led to 12 Purple Ace second-chance points.
Both teams would open the second half much as they did the game with Butler connecting on their first four shots, while Evansville opened 3-of-3. Bowden had two steals that led to lay-ups and a driving three-point play in the first three minutes of the second half. Freshman Jackie Closser's free throw at 11:16 gave the Bulldogs a 64-43 advantage, tying the final score for their largest lead of the game.
Evansville would make a run late, trying to force the Bulldogs into turnovers with a full-court press. Denasha Mondy's three-point play off the fast break at 8:16 pulled the Purple Aces within 13 at 66-53. But the Bulldogs would respond as Bowden and Closser combined to break the Evansville pressure. Closser dribbled through four Evansville defenders to find a streaking Bowden for a lay-up with 1:55 remaining to put the game out of reach at 82-65.
Senior Jamie Gray led the Purple Aces with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Forward Olivia Grant would add 15 for the visitors. Evansville did win the battle of the boards, 36-28, but committed 27 turnovers, which the Bulldogs converted into 32 points.
The Bulldogs travel to Oxford, Ohio to play the RedHawks of Miami Saturday. The game begins at 2 p.m. If you're not making the trip, the game will be broadcast live on www.butlersports.com.