Dec. 22, 2008
Indianapolis, Ind. - The Bulldogs continued their recent success from the perimeter - hitting eight three-pointers, including a team-high four from Brittany Bowen - but an even more impressive long range performance by Indiana State helped the Sycamores rally back from a seven-point first-half deficit to claim a 66-63 decision at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Monday (Dec. 22) afternoon.
Butler falls to 4-6 on the year with the loss despite a valiant last-minute rally attempt that fell just short. Indiana State, meanwhile, improves to 4-7.
Finding themselves trailing by seven at 62-55 with under a minute to go, the Bulldogs got a pair of clutch treys from Bowen to help trim the gap to three before a pair of makes from the line by Tara Miller following a steal cut the margin to one at 64-63 with seven seconds to go.
ISU made both free throws after an ensuing foul by the Bulldogs, giving Butler the final possession with a chance to tie on a three. Bowen got the ball in the right corner with just two seconds left and, finding no shot from behind the arc, stepped up to shoot the two while attempting to draw a crucial foul, but neither the shot nor the foul call would go the Bulldogs' way as the Sycamores held on for the win.
A game that saw nine lead changes and seven ties had the Bulldogs jump out to as much as a seven-point advantage with just over 10 minutes to go in the opening period. Susan Lester and Bowen canned back-to-back treys and Chloe Hamilton added a lay-in to give Butler a 22-15 lead with 10:52 on the clock.
ISU would battle back through the remainder of the period, however, using a 17-4 run to close the half and take a 32-26 lead into the locker room.
Butler rallied at the start of the second frame, as a jumper by Melanie Thornton and free throws by Lade Akande cut the gap down to two before a three-pointer by Candyce Brown put the Bulldogs back in front at 33-32. Butler led by as much as three halfway through the period before the Sycamores once again responded with another run to go back ahead by five with just over nine to play.
A pair of makes from the line and another triple from Bowen knotted the game up again with 7:28 to go, but the Bulldogs found themselves trailing by six just two minutes later thanks to a couple more threes from the Sycamores.
The see-saw battle continued into the final minutes, as Butler once again answered the call by tying the game up at 53-53 with less than three minutes to play after Thornton split a pair of shots from the free throw line. A 9-2 run by Indiana State over the next two minutes, however, put ISU ahead by seven with 41 seconds to go, setting up the final push by the Bulldogs that ended just shy of a comeback.
Butler out-shot ISU from the field, 42.9 percent to 36.7, but the Sycamores held an 11-to-8 edge on threes and a 19-to-13 advantage from the free throw line to help provide the final margin.
Bowen paced the team for the second game in a row, scoring 18 points off the bench on 6-for-13 shooting from the field and a 4-of-8 effort from beyond the arc. Akande and Thornton each added nine points and chipped in seven and six rebounds, respectively.
Butler returns to action next Monday (Dec. 29) when it takes on Christian Brothers beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Hinkle Fieldhouse.