Dec. 29, 2005
Using 63-percent shooting from the field in the first half to jump out to a big lead, Butler made short work of visiting Youngstown State, 78-55, Thursday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Junior Jackie Closser and freshman Lade Akande each had 17 points for the Bulldogs. Butler improves to 5-5 on the year, while YSU falls to 4-8. It was the Horizon League opener for both teams.
Butler hit 17 of 27 attempts in the opening 20 minutes, including 6-of-9 shooting from behind the arc, to take a 46-22 lead into the locker room. A friendly bounce on Closser's three-point attempt with six seconds remaining in the first half capped a 33-12 run over the final 12 minutes of the half. Closser went a perfect 5-of-5 from the field for 14 points in the opening half.
"I thought we did a great job of coming out with a lot of intensity tonight," said Butler head coach Beth Couture, now just three wins shy of 300 for her career. "Obviously our offense clicked tonight, but we were very active on defense, getting steals, deflections and contesting shots. It's always nice to start your league schedule on a positive note."
Eleven of Akande's 17 points came after the break. The reigning Horizon League "Player of the Week" went 7-of-10 from the field. Akande finished out her statsheet with eight rebounds, three blocks and a career-high five steals. Ellen Hamilton had 13 points for the Bulldogs and sophomore Cassie Freeman added a season-high nine.
Butler limited Youngstown State to 32-percent shooting for the game, including a 1-of-14 performance from three-point range. Butler held a 43-36 advantage on the boards and shot 48 percent for the game. The Bulldogs were 8-of-15 from three-point range and hit 20 of 25 free throw attempts.
Senior Stephanie Boeke tied Akande for the team lead with eight boards, adding a team-best five assists and four points. Closser and Freeman each handed out four assists. Freshman Candyce Brown had four rebounds and three assists in a career-high 16 minutes of action.
Butler stretched its lead to a game-high 34 points at 64-30 after an Akande lay-up with 11:04 to play. Butler led by 30 with 5:31 to play before the Penguins cut into the deficit in the game's waning minutes after both teams emptied their benches.
Ashlee Russo led the Penguins with 15 points.
The win was the sixth straight for Butler over Youngstown State and runs the Bulldogs' current winning streak to three games. Butler returns to action at UW-Milwaukee Saturday (Dec. 31) at 2 p.m. (CST, 3 p.m. Indianapolis). Free video and audio of the contest will be available at both www.butlersports.com and www.horizonleague.com.