Brenden Leads Short-Handed Butler Past IPFW, 62-60

Dec. 21, 2004

Box Score

Sophomore Ashley Brenden posted her first career double-double as Butler was able to snap a four-game losing streak with a hard-fought 62-60 win over IPFW Tuesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Brenden scored 13 points and added a career-high 10 rebounds, helping a short-handed Butler level its record at 5-5. IPFW falls to 1-8 on the year.

Brenden's play in the post was especially important because the Bulldogs were without senior post player and preseason "All-Horizon League" selection Cortney Urquhart, who missed the game because of an illness in her family. Brenden shot 6-of-11 from the field and got the Bulldogs out of the gates strong with seven points in the first eight minutes as Butler took an early 21-10 lead.

"Ashley really stepped up for us tonight," said coach Beth Couture. "She made a lot of plays in there when we needed her to because Cortney wasn't here. We still haven't put together a full game yet, but we'll take the win and 5-5 at this point. We're going to make some improvements, get Cortney back and look forward to our league schedule."

Foul trouble plagued the Bulldogs in the first half, as five players had to go to the bench with two fouls. Couture had to use 11 players in the opening stanza and led 34-27 at the intermission.

IPFW, which entered the game shooting just 28 percent as a team, got back-to-back three-pointers to tie the game at 53 with 6:42 to play. The shots accounted for two of the Mastodons' three treys of the night and gave IPFW the first tie of the game after the team had slowly chipped away at the Butler advantage.

But the Bulldogs responded with consecutive buckets from Brenden, freshman Cassie Freeman and sophomore Ellen Hamilton. A Jackie Closser free throw gave the Bulldogs a 60-53 edge with 4:45 to play and the Bulldogs would weather a chaotic final five minutes to take the 62-60 win.

Junior Gina Grussing provided strong post play with a career-high 10 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end. Her play helped the Bulldogs to a 54-44 rebounding edge. Junior Stephanie Boeke added eight rebounds in a career-high 35 minutes of play. Hamilton finished with 12 points, while Freeman went 4-of-6 from the field for 11 points.

Butler shot 38 percent from the field and went 6-of-20 from behind the arc. The Bulldogs managed to squeeze out the win despite 20 turnovers and 10-of-22 free throw shooting, including several misses down the stretch.

The Bulldogs held IPFW to 30 percent shooting, including a 3-of-18 mark from three-point range. The Mastodons hit 15-of-23 free throws and committed just 10 turnovers. Center Verea Bibbs led the visitors with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Butler takes a few days off to enjoy the holidays before opening Horizon League play Wednesday, Dec. 29 at Wright State. The game can be heard live on www.butlersports.com. Butler expects Urquhart to play in the contest. The Bulldogs return to Hinkle Fieldhouse Monday, Jan. 3, beginning the new year with UW-Milwaukee at 7 p.m.