Jan. 11, 2006
THE TIP: Butler (6-7, 2-1 Horizon League) finishes off a quick two-game homestand Thursday when Detroit (5-10, 2-2) visits Hinkle Fieldhouse for a league contest. The Bulldogs are looking to snap a two-game losing streak and stay among the early leaders in the Horizon League standings. Free video and audio of the 7 p.m. tip is available live at both www.butlersports.com and www.horizonleague.com.
THE SERIES: This is the 45th meeting between the Bulldogs and Detroit. The Titans own a 30-14 advantage in the all-time series. However, Butler is 11-10 against Detroit in Indianapolis. Butler swept the season series with the Titans last season, posting 20-point and 13-point victories.
BIG PLAY LADE: Freshman Lade Akande led the Bulldogs with 25 points and nine rebounds in Saturday's loss to UIC. The 6-1 post player went 8-of-15 from the field to go along with three blocks. It was Akande's sixth straight double-figure scoring game. She's led the team in scoring in five of those six contests.
TOP TEN PERFORMANCE: With more than a season and a half remaining in her Butler career, junior guard Jackie Closser has moved into tenth place on Butler's career assists list with 239. With her five assists Saturday against UIC, Closser passed Niki Stevenson (236) and now trails Brandi Kimble (1990-93) by 21 helpers.
Closser had a career-high nine assists Dec. 31 at UW-Milwaukee and is second in the Horizon League at 5.2 assists per game.
15-FOOT RANGE: After leading the Horizon League in free throw shooting for much of the season, Butler has relinquished the top spot in free throw accuracy to Loyola (.747). The Bulldogs are hitting at a very respectable .735 clip and junior Jackie Closser continues to top the circuit at 88 percent. Closser is 23rd in the nation in free throw accuracy.
`THREES' R US: Junior Jackie Closser continues to lead the Horizon League with an average of 3.0 three-pointers per game. That also places her eighth in the nation in treys made. As a team, Butler is hitting 7.5 three-pointers per game, which is second in the league and eighth in the NCAA.
ELLEN TOO: Junior Ellen Hamilton ranks second in the Horizon League in three-point percentage, knocking down 46 percent of her long-range attempts so far this season. Hamilton is also fifth in the league, averaging 2.31 treys per contest. The 5-10 guard had her consecutive games streak with a three-pointer ended Saturday against UIC at 19 straight contests.
DIRTY WORK: Senior Stephanie Boeke hasn't drawn the early attention that has found her three teammates averaging double figures so far this season, but the 5-10 forward is filling up every column of the box score every night. Against IUPUI Jan. 4, Boeke posted a career-high six assists to lead the team and tied a personal-best with 10 rebounds. She added eight points and two steals in 37 minutes.
Boeke ranks fifth in the Horizon League in rebounding, pulling down 6.1 caroms per night.
CENTURY MARK: Thursday's contest marks the 100th game on the Butler sidelines for head coach Beth Couture, assistant coaches Gene Hill and Seph Hatley and four-year seniors Stephanie Boeke and Nikki Budgake.
Couture enters Thursday's win just two wins shy of 300 for her career.
LEADING THE CIRCUIT: Jackie Closser paces the league in free throw percentage (.884) and three-pointers made (3.0 per game). Freshman Lade Akande leads in blocks at 2.00 swats per contest and defensive rebounding (5.6 per game). Closser is second in assists (5.2) and assist/turnover ratio (1.88), while Akande is just off the pace in rebounding at 8.2 boards per game.
HITTING THE TRI-FECTA: Butler's .394 accuracy from three-point range leads the league, while the team's average of 7.5 treys per game is second. Juniors Jackie Closser and Ellen Hamilton continue to climb toward the top spot in career three-pointers with each having more than a full season remaining.
Career three-pointers made
1. 167, Debbie Benziger (1995-98)
2. 142, Maria Marchesano (2002-05)
3. 138, Jackie Closser (2004-present)
4. 128, Ellen Hamilton (2004-present)
4. 128, Jennifer Marlow (1996-99)
AGAINST THE HL: Freshman Lade Akande's 23.3 points per game average in Horizon League play is the top individual performance among league players. She also ranks first in the league in blocks at 2.67 swats per game, a full block per game better than another other player. Her .578 field goal percentage is sixth, but a huge jump from her .386 mark against non-conference foes. Junior Jackie Closser is tied for the league lead in assists in league action at 6.0 helpers per game.
QUICK SHOTS: Senior Stephanie Boeke celebrated her 22nd birthday Tuesday (Jan. 10)...senior Gina Grussing was one of 12 Butler student-athletes to post a 4.0 grade point average during the fall semester. Grussing joined Boeke, Jackie Closser and Cassie Freeman on the Butler Athletic Director's Academic Honor Roll...after allowing a season-high 25 offensive rebounds to UW-Milwaukee Dec. 31, Butler has responded by surrendering just 12 to IUPUI and a season-low seven to UIC Saturday.
WE'RE GOING STREAKING: Butler has hit at least five three-pointers in all 13 games this season and in 19 of its last 20 outings dating back to last season...Jackie Closser has hit at least one three-pointer in 12 straight games, the longest active streak on the team...Butler has hit at least one three-pointer in 137 straight games, dating back to Feb. 1, 2001.
AGAINST THE TITANS: After going scoreless in her first game against Detroit as a freshman, Jackie Closser has responded by averaging 13.7 points per game in her last three outings against the Titans. That includes 12-of-20 (.600) shooting from behind the arc...Stephanie Boeke's 13 points against Detroit Jan. 7, 2003 stood as her career-high until she posted 14 at Youngstown State last season...Ellen Hamilton averages 10.3 ppg against Detroit, which ties Closser for the team-high...Butler limited Detroit to an average of 45.5 points per game in the team's two contests last season. Detroit has scored only 52.2 ppg against Butler in its last five games versus the Bulldogs.
MILLER TIME: Butler announced that 2005 Indiana All-Star Tara Miller has joined the Butler program. Miller transfers to the Bulldogs from Indiana University. The 5-10 guard from Ramsey, Ind. (North Harrison) will have 2.5 seasons of eligibility beginning after the first semester of the 2006-07 season. She can practice with the team beginning Jan. 17, the first day of classes.
CLOSING OUT 2005 WITH A BANG: Freshman Lade Akande hit two free throws with five seconds remaining in overtime to give Butler an 80-79 league win at UW-Milwaukee Dec. 31. The two charity tosses capped a career-high 28 points for Akande, who added nine rebounds. Butler needed the overtime heroics after squandering an 18-point advantage with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation. The win ended an eight-game losing streak to the Panthers in Milwaukee, dating back to Jan. 11, 1997.
OFFENSIVE BEHAVIOR: Butler is scoring 69.8 points per game, good for second in the Horizon League. Three Butler players average double figures with Lade Akande (14.8), Jackie Closser (14.8) and Ellen Hamilton (12.7) ranking 5-6-9 in the league scoring race. Carla Gheorghe is just behind at 9.3 points per game. Butler has topped 70 points in seven of its last 10 games.
WORTHLESS STAT OF THE DAY: Butler attempted only nine free throws total in two games against Detroit last season. This season, Butler has attempted 24 more free throws than its opponents, while Detroit has been out-shot, 366-205.