Defense Clamps Down Late As Butler Holds Off Vikings In League Opener, 66-57

Dec. 28, 2006

Box Score

Cleveland - Lade Akande notched a double-double and Ellen Hamilton became the 18th player in Butler history with 1,000 career points as the Bulldogs overcame an early second-half deficit to hold off host Cleveland State, 66-57, on Thursday (Dec. 28) at the Wolstein Center.

The Bulldogs (4-8, 1-0 Horizon League) held a one-point advantage at the break before the Vikings (3-11, 0-1 HL) scored the period's first nine points to jump ahead to a 37-29 lead. Butler came right back, however, scoring 11 unanswered on the heels of eight-straight points by Akande to tie the game at 39-39. A three-pointer by Susan Lester at 12:13 gave the Bulldogs the lead for good, as the Butler defense kept the Vikings at bay for the final 10 minutes.

Cold shooting plagued both squads in the early going, as the teams combined for only four field goals in the first 10 minutes. Butler was the first to turn things around, however, using a 9-0 run over a three-minute span to go up 13-5 with 8:28 left in the first.

Cleveland State fought back and took the lead with nine seconds left as Kailey Klein tallied a pair of free throws to put CSU up 28-26, but Jackie Closser nailed a desperation three-pointer as time expired to give the Bulldogs the halftime lead.

The Vikings opened things up out of the locker room, scoring the first eight points of the stanza. The Bulldogs would find their groove, however, shooting 47.6 percent from the field in the second half while holding the Vikings to just 7-of-35 shooting from the field.

Akande paced all scorers with a career-tying 28 points, coming on 8-of-18 shooting from the field and a 12-of-20 clip from the free throw line, and added 10 rebounds.

Meanwhile, Hamilton entered the contest needing only three points to reach 1,000 in her career and, after canning a pair of free throws in the first half, netted a lay-up at 11:27 of the second to breach the mark.

Closser finished joined Akande in double figures with 17 points and extended her three-pointers-made streak to 40 straight games, going 3-of-4 from distance. Lester added 10 rebounds of her own and chipped in four points. Cassie Freeman added seven points and six rebounds, while Hamilton finished with six points and four boards.

Klein led the Vikings with 21 points, while Brittany Korth notched 12.

The Bulldogs continue the Horizon League slate on Saturday (Dec. 30) when they take on Youngstown State beginning at 2:05 p.m. at the Beeghley Center.