December 13, 2008

Bulldogs Escape Miami With Gutsy, 86-81, Double-OT Win

Dec. 13, 2008

Box Score

Oxford, Ohio - Brittany Bowen posted a career-high 25 points, Lade Akande added 21 and the Bulldogs overcame a surging Miami (Ohio) team to claw their way to a grueling, 86-81, double-overtime victory at Millett Hall on Saturday (Dec. 13) afternoon.

The host RedHawks overcame a 13-point Butler advantage with 2:25 to go in regulation to knot the game up in the final seconds to force extra time. After playing to another draw through the first OT period, the Bulldogs used a quick three-pointer from Bowen and clutch makes from the free throw line by Terra Burns and Melanie Thornton to hold on for the gutsy win.

The win sends Butler to 4-5 on the year, while the RedHawks fall to 6-3.

After heading into the break leading by just one at 29-28, the Bulldogs began to pull away in the second period, as an 8-0 run - keyed by a three from Devin Brierly and lay-ups by Thornton and Akande - pushed Butler out to a 46-36 advantage less than eight minutes into the frame.

The Bulldogs continued to hold a double-digit margin over the next 10 minutes, as a pair of treys by Bowen and three jumpers by Akande helped to give Butler a commanding 62-49 lead with 2:25 to go in regulation.

Miami would respond in stunning fashion, using an incredible 15-2 surge down the stretch - capped by a game-tying jumper by Jenna Schone with 13 seconds on the clock - to send the game into overtime.

Finding themselves in a seemingly improbable overtime situation, the Bulldogs fell behind early in the first extra frame, as a lay-up by Courtney Reed and a old-fashioned three-point play by Schone helped to give Miami a five-point lead at 72-67 with 2:45 to go.

Butler held its own, though, as Bowen drained a three-pointer to cut the lead to two before a lay-up by Thornton with less than a minute to go brought the contest back to even.

The RedHawks had their chances to come away with the victory in the final seconds, as Schone drew a foul with five seconds left to head to the line with two attempts to break a 74-74 draw. The Bulldogs survived the scare, however, as both tosses missed their marks to keep Butler's hopes alive.

The Bulldogs carried that momentum swing into the second overtime, as Bowen drew first blood with her fifth three-pointer of the game just nine seconds into the period to put Butler ahead, 77-74. Miami would rebound to take an 81-80 lead with just over two minutes to go, but two makes from the line by Bowen and single free throws by Thornton and Burns helped Butler back on top, 84-81, with 20 seconds remaining.

Looking to tie the game up once more, the RedHawks took the ball up the floor and found Maggie Boyer open from beyond the arc on the left side with eight seconds left. The game-tying attempt would miss wide, however, as Thornton grabbed the lose ball before being fouled.

The Butler forward confidently hit both attempts on the other end of the floor to give the Bulldogs a five-point edge and seal the thrilling victory.

Bowen's 25 points - coming on 8-for-10 shooting from the field, 5-for-6 from three and 4-for-4 from the line - topped her previous career-mark of 20 set last year. Her eight boards, meanwhile, tied her career high.

Akande tied her season-best scoring total with 21 points on 7-of-17 shooting, while Thornton added 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season. Brierly also finished in double-figures with 11 points coming on three treys.

The win is Butler's first double-overtime victory since topping UIC, 100-88, on Feb. 1, 1996 at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The Bulldogs will take a week-long break for finals before welcoming Indiana State to Hinkle Fieldhouse on Monday, Dec. 22, for a 12:00 noon match with the Sycamores.