Jan. 26, 2007
UW-Milwaukee (10-10, 6-1) at Butler (7-12, 4-3)
Date: Saturday, January 27, 2007
Time: 2:00 p.m. EST
Location: Hinkle Fieldhouse (11,043) Indianapolis, Ind.
Tip-Off: UW-Milwaukee invades Hinkle Fieldhouse on Saturday (Jan. 27) as the Bulldogs host the Panthers beginning at 2:00 p.m. Butler, 11-15 against UWM since 1982, holds a 6-6 mark in the series when playing at Hinkle. The Bulldogs have dropped the last two meetings, with Butler's last win coming via an 80-79 victory on Dec. 31, 2005.
Think Pink: The Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) has encouraged all coaching staffs and game day support staffs to help unify the women's basketball world in a show of support for all coaches who are battling breast cancer throughout the weekend of January 26-28. All coaches have been asked to wear pink on the bench and to promote the weekend with their players and fans in order to educate, create awareness and motivate everyone to learn about breast cancer prevention.
Butler Basketball on the Web: Cory Schnurbusch serves as the play-by-play voice of the Butler women's basketball team for the 2006-07 season. The broadcasts feature live game action on the web at www.ButlerSports.com and are offered for free. Butler also has streaming video available for all home and Horizon League contests during the year.
Previewing The Bulldogs: Butler (7-12, 4-3 Horizon League) stands in fourth place in the Horizon League standings after falling short of conference-leading UW-Green Bay on Thursday (Jan. 25). The Bulldogs have used the three-pointer as a large part of their scoring, with over 35 percent (147-of-412) of their field goals coming from downtown and their 7.7 treys per game ranking in the top-15 in the NCAA. Senior guards Jackie Closser (13.4 points per game) and Ellen Hamilton (8.9 ppg) have each eclipsed 1,000 points in their careers this season and rank in the top 10 in the Horizon League in three pointers per game. Sophomore center Lade Akande adds a strong inside presence, averaging 12.8 ppg, while freshman post Susan Lester leads the team with 5.1 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Tara Miller has provided an offensive boost with 9.9 ppg over the last 10 games, while junior forward Cassie Freeman adds a long-range threat from the post position with a team-high .382 three-point percentage. Candyce Brown and Candace Jones have each added depth on the perimeter, while forwards Candace Bain and Mel Thornton are the top post options off the bench. Head coach Beth Couture (314-195) is in her fifth season with the Bulldogs.
Fast Start Not Enough As UWGB Tops Butler: Butler raced out to a lightning-fast start against UW-Green Bay, jumping to as much as a 13-point lead in the early going, but the Phoenix used a steady offensive attack throughout the contest to claim an 81-64 decision over the Bulldogs on Jan. 25 at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Long-distance shooting was the name of the game all night long, as the two teams combined for 25 three-pointers, including 17 in the first half. Jackie Closser led the Bulldogs with 16 points, while Susan Lester notched her third double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds and Ellen Hamilton set a career-high with eight boards.
Scholar Athlete: After performing at an exceptional level both athletically and academically, Jackie Closser was named the Horizon League's Female Scholar-Athlete of the Week, the league announced on Tuesday (Jan. 23). Closser scored a team-high 17 points, including a 12-of-12 mark from the free-throw line, at Detroit on Jan. 18 before notching 19 points at IPFW on Jan. 20. The elementary education major also touts a 3.616 GPA and was named to the 2006 CoSIDA Academic All-District V Team.
National Attention: The Bulldogs are currently found in the NCAA Division-I Top-50 in three categories. As a team, Butler ranks 14th in D-I with 7.7 three-pointers made per game (147-of-436). The Bulldogs have also yielded only 15.5 turnovers per game, the 39th-lowest mark in the nation. Additionally, senior guard Jackie Closser has been one of the NCAA's top free throw shooters, converting 60-of-69 for an 87.0 percent efficiency and a 26th-place tie in the national rankings.
Keeping it Going: With four triples against UW-Green Bay on Jan. 25, Jackie Closser extended her streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer to 47 in a row. Her trek is the longest active streak in the NCAA and is only 13 shy of the Division I record of 60. However, time is at a premium, as the Bulldogs will need to advance to the NCAA Tournament for Closser to play in enough games.
Making The Most Of a Minute: Freshman Susan Lester has been Butler's top freshman this season, and it has shown in her numbers. She has scored 133 points in 18 games this year despite only playing in 280 minutes, giving her an average of 19.0 points for every 40 minutes played. The 6-2 freshman is sixth on the team in scoring with 7.2 points per game and has registered a team-high three double-doubles, including two in the last two games.
Moving On Up: After eclipsing 1,000 points in their careers this season, senior guards Jackie Closser and Ellen Hamilton continue to move up the Butler all-time scoring list. Closser currently touts 1,145 points in her career for 12th in the Bulldog record books and needs 13 points to leap both Cortney Urquhart (1,154) and Martha Kondalski (1,157) for 10th. Meanwhile, Hamilton ranks 15th with 1,054 and requires 27 points to move pass Angela Cotton (1,080) for 14th. Closser became the 17th player in school history to reach 1,000 points at Louisville on Dec. 18, while Hamilton became number 18 at Cleveland State on Dec. 28.
Triple Threat: The Bulldogs have been nearly unstoppable from three-point range this season. Butler is second in the Horizon League and 14th in the NCAA with 7.7 three-pointers made per game while ranking third in the league with a .337 three-point percentage. The Bulldogs have averaged even more in league games and are tied for second with 8.6 per game.
Closser And Hamilton Lead the Way: Senior guards Jackie Closser and Ellen Hamilton have led the way for the Bulldogs from downtown this season. Closser leads the team and is second in the Horizon League with 2.3 makes per game, while Hamilton has hit 1.9 per game for seventh in the conference.
Accuracy Counts: Cassie Freeman and Ellen Hamilton have both made the most of their attempts from long distance. Freeman leads the team and is sixth in the Horizon League with a .382 three-point percentage (26-of-68) and is the only post player ranked among the league's top 15. Meanwhile, Hamilton is seventh in the league with a .379 percentage (36-of-95).
Jones, Miller and Lester: No, it's not a law firm; it's just an example of how many other options the Bulldogs have for pulling the trigger from three. Sophomore guard Candace Jones has hit 7-of-20 from three for a .350 shooting percentage, while sophomore guard Tara Miller has netted 20-of-55 (.364) in her first 10 games with the team. Meanwhile, forward Susan Lester has added long range ability from the post position with 12 treys of her own.
Akande Brings It From The Paint: It's not all about shooting from long range for the Bulldogs, as sophomore Lade Akande can attest. The 6-1 center is second on the team in scoring with 12.8 points per game despite not taking a single shot from beyond the arc this year. In fact, the Robinson, Ill. native has yet to shoot for three in 45 career games. She currently leads the team and is eighth in the Horizon League with a .437 field goal percentage.
...And She Does It In Conference Play: Akande has stepped up her game even further in Horizon League play. She is tied for seventh in the league with 14.7 points per game and is seventh with a .481 shooting percentage from the field. She has also pulled in 6.3 rebounds per league game, the tied for the sixth-highest total, and has posted a pair of double-doubles.
Crime Prevention: Opponents have had a rather difficult time attempting to pick the pockets of the Butler players this season. The Bulldogs have yielded 15.5 turnovers per game this year, the second-fewest in the Horizon League and 39th-fewest in the nation. Butler also ranks third in the league in assists-to-turnover ratio at 0.9. Butler's six turnovers against Air Force on Nov. 22 is also the lowest single-game total in the Horizon League this season.
Taking Advantage of Charity: It's not as if Jackie Closser is asking to go to the free throw line, but, when she does, she makes opponents pay. She is currently tied for the league lead in free-throw efficiency, netting 60 of her 69 attempts for a .870 average. In fact, Closser has missed only one shot in Horizon League play this season, hitting 31-of-32 for a .969 percentage. Her mark includes a perfect 12-of-12 effort from the line at Detroit on Jan. 18.
Minute Minder: Jackie Closser must really enjoy time-outs, because she doesn't get too many other opportunities to catch her breath. The senior guard has played the full 40 minutes in five games this season and has played fewer than 35 minutes only three times. She currently leads the team and the Horizon League with 37.0 minutes per game.
...And It Could Be The Most Ever: Jackie Closser has spent a lot of time on the court this season, but she could end up spending more time on the floor than anyone else in Butler history. Closser has played 3,306 minutes in her career, the fourth-most all-time, and needs 302 minutes to pass Mary Majewski (3,607) for the most in school history. With nine regular season games and at least one Horizon League Tournament game remaining, she will need to average just under 32 minutes per game to eclipse the mark.
Hamilton Is Right Behind: Ellen Hamilton has been a staple on the floor for the Bulldogs alongside Closser and is also approaching rare figures in terms of minutes played. The senior guard currently touts 2,844 minutes in her career and ranks 10th on the all-time list.
A Little Bit Of Help: Jackie Closser has been extremely helpful to the Bulldogs on offense this season and during her career. The senior guard ranks third in the Horizon League with 3.7 assists per game and is fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.4. She also touts 393 assists in her career, the fifth-most in school history. Fourth place is a ways off, however, as Barb Skinner dished 509 from 1980-83. The school record of 584 was set by Melissa Kilgore from 1985-88.
...And A Big Help All At Once: Closser's 11 assists against Bradley on Nov. 17 were a career-high for the 5-5 guard and is a Horizon League season-high. She also finished with 14 points in the game for the only points-assists double-double in the Horizon League this year.
Feeling A Little Rejected: You really couldn't blame Air Force if they felt a little intimidated by the Bulldogs in their game on Nov. 22. That's because Butler notched 11 blocks in the contest, tied for the highest single-game total in the Horizon League this season. Six players contributed at least once, with junior Cassie Freeman touting a career-best four. Since then, only Detroit has registered 11, coming against Youngstown State on Jan. 13.
Butler Inks Quartet For 2007: High school stand-outs Azjah Bass, Terra Burns, Chloe Hamilton and Jenny Ostrom have all signed national letters of intent to attend Butler and play basketball beginning in the fall of 2007. All four have earned all-state accolades and are either approaching or have surpassed 1,000 points in their careers.
Lending A Helping Hand: The Butler women's basketball team took time out of their busy schedule on Nov. 4 to assist at the Special Olympics Area 8 Bowling Championships at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis. Members of the team and coaching staff helped out as lane assistants, runners and scorers for the event and presented the awards to the winners. Special Olympics Indiana provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for persons eight years of age and older with intellectual disabilities.
At The Buzzer: Butler will have a week off before hosting Wright State on Saturday (Feb. 3) beginning at 6:00 p.m. at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Raiders claimed a win in the season-opener on Jan. 6, edging the Bulldogs, 76-71, at the Nutter Center.