Dec. 19, 2005
Scoring 12 of the final 13 points, Butler posted a dramatic, come-from-behind 83-78 win over visiting Evansville Monday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Junior Carla Gheorghe's offensive rebound and three-point play with 12 seconds to play proved to be the difference for the Bulldogs, which improve to 3-5 on the season. Evansville now stands at 3-5 as well.
"This is a big win for us when we really needed one," said Butler head coach Beth Couture. "I'm proud of our effort. We never gave up, even when we were down eight with four minutes to play. Different players continued to step up and make big plays at key times throughout the game."
A Kanika Rogers put-back with 4:28 to play gave the Purple Aces their largest advantage at 75-67. The Bulldogs then mounted the decisive comeback. Gheorghe had seven points in the final three minutes, sparking the Bulldogs to victory. Her two free throws with 35 seconds remaining tied the contest at 78. Evansville then came down and called a timeout. But freshman Candace Jones stole the ensuing inbounds pass and took off toward the Butler basket. She found a streaking Lade Akande, but Akande's runner was no good. Gheorghe got the offensive rebound and the three-point play.
Akande led the Bulldogs with 21 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks. She was one of five Butler players in double figures. Gheorghe had 18 points, followed by Jackie Closser (14), Candace Jones (12) and Ellen Hamilton (11). Butler shot 45 percent from the field, including 10-of-20 from three-point range. The team had 19 assists on 26 field goals.
Butler hit seven of its first 11 attempts to start the game and led 29-20 with 8:57 remaining in the first frame. Evansville responded and had the lead down to one at 40-39 before Jones hit her third three-pointer of the first half to give the Bulldogs a 43-39 halftime advantage.
The teams traded baskets to open the second half with Evansville taking their first lead of the game at 57-55 with 12:04 remaining. They didn't relinquish the lead until Gheorghe's three-point play with 12 seconds to play.
Rebekah Parker led the Purple Aces with 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Megan Liffick (16) and Ashli Senff (10) joined her in double figures. Rogers had 10 of Evansville's 46 rebounds, including seven of the team's 22 offensive boards. The visitors shot 41 percent from the field and committed just nine turnovers.
Butler returns to action Thursday (Dec. 22) when UMBC visits Hinkle Fieldhouse. Live video and audio of the 7 p.m. contest will be available on www.butlersports.com.