Bulldogs Post Best Season Since the 1998-99 Campaign

Bulldogs Post Best Season Since the 1998-99 Campaign

March 27, 2006

Complete Notes in PDF Format

Postseason Awards

Most Valuable Player - Jackie Closser
Offensive Award - Lade Akande
Defensive Award - Stephanie Boeke and Candyce Brown
Most Improved - Cassie Freeman
Best Attitude - Stephanie Boeke
All-Horizon League - Jackie Closser (1st Team) and Lade Akande (2nd Team and Newcomer)

LEAGUE RECOGNITION: Junior Jackie Closser earned "All-Horizon League" first-team honors, while freshman Lade Akande was named to the "All-Horizon League" second team and the league's five-member "All-Newcomer Team," the league office announced Feb. 27. The league's head coaches, sports information directors and a media member voted on the postseason awards. Nancy Bowden was the last Bulldog to earn first-team honors (2004), while Akande is the Bulldogs' fourth All-Newcomer selection in the last five years. 

THREE AT A TIME: As a team, Butler finished the season with a school-record 223 three-pointers, good for a Horizon League-leading average of 7.7 per game. The Bulldogs also led the league in three-point percentage at .393. Butler's 223 treys were fourth in the nation, while the team's .393 three-point percentage was the eighth-best mark among the NCAA's 324 schools and also a Butler single-season team record.

ANYTHING I CAN DO, I CAN DO BETTER: Junior point guard Jackie Closser's 84 three-point field goals made broke her own school record of 67 set during the 2004-05 season and stand as the fourth-best single-season mark in Horizon League history. She finished the season ranked sixth in the NCAA in three-point field goals made, averaging 3.0 per game.

2005-06 WAS REALLY JUST A PREVIEW OF 2006-07: All eight players that appeared for Butler in its Horizon League semifinal game are slated to return for the 2006-07 season. Butler returns the following for the 2006-07 season: 94.5 percent of its scoring, 83.7 percent of its rebounding, 83.6 percent of its assists, and 100 percent of its three-pointers made.

TRIAL BY FIRE: Butler's three freshmen (Lade Akande, Candyce Brown and Candace Jones) combined to play 29.4 percent of the team's minutes this season. The trio also accounted for 32 percent of the team's scoring. All three newcomers started the same game on two occasions, the first time that three Butler freshmen have started the same contest during Beth Couture's four seasons at BU. The trio will have to take on an even larger role next season as Butler graduates four seniors from the 2005-06 roster in Stephanie Boeke, Nikki Budgake, Gina Grussing and Jessica Smart.

DEADLY FROM DOWNTOWN: Junior shooting guard Ellen Hamilton hit 69 three-pointers last season, the second-best mark in Butler history. Her average of 2.38 treys per game trailed only teammate Jackie Closser's average in the Horizon League. Hamilton shot her three-pointers at a 46.6-percent mark, the fifth-best percentage in all of the NCAA.

NOT A BAD START TO YOUR CAREER: Freshman Lade Akande's 470 points during the 2005-06 campaign rank as the fifth-best single-season mark in Butler history. The total is also the most scored by a freshman in Butler history. Akande also ranks in the Top 10 for single-season proficiency in field goals made (191, fifth), field goal attempts (400, fifth), free throws attempted (164, sixth), scoring average (16.2 ppg, ninth) and blocked shots (41, tenth).

`LADE' IN, DAY OUT: Akande's 16.2 point-per-game average is the highest by a Butler player since Sarah Schuetz averaged 17.5 points per game during the 1997-98 season. Akande registered double figures in points in 21 of the team's final 22 games of the season. She posted 13 20+ point performances and eight double-doubles.

`CASS' AND POINT: Sophomore Cassie Freeman finished third in the Horizon League in three-point percentage, knocking down 45.5 percent of her long-range attempts. She was the only post player among the league's top 15 three-point shooters.

SCORING SPREE: Lade Akande finished third in the Horizon League in scoring and second in rebounding. Butler boasted three of the league's top 11 scorers last season, with Jackie Closser and Ellen Hamilton joining Akande. Akande's average jumped to 18.1 ppg in Horizon League games, the second-best mark in the league.

OFFENSIVE BEHAVIOR: Butler averaged 69.1 points per game during the 2005-06 season, the second-best mark in the Horizon League.

Butler was 13-2 this season when scoring 70 points or more.

HOSTING RIGHTS: The Bulldogs' Horizon League Tournament quarterfinal win over Detroit March 1 was Butler's first home game under the Horizon League's new tournament format where higher seeds host the early rounds of the tournament, implemented in 2004.

Lade Akande was named to the five-member Horizon League All-Tournament Team, the first Butler player to be recognized since Nancy Bowden in 2004.

WINS BEGINNING TO ADD UP: Butler's 15 wins are the most since the 1998-99 season. Butler has increased its winning percentage in each of Beth Couture's four seasons. The Bulldogs recorded a top-four finish in the Horizon League standings for the second time in Couture's four years on the Butler sidelines.

LEAGUE LEADER: Jackie Closser led the Horizon League in assists, assist/turnover ratio and free throw percentage in addition to three-pointers made. Her 86.7 percent accuracy from the free throw line was the 21st-best mark in the nation. Closser also ranked second on the team and fifth in the conference in scoring at 15.1 points per game.

`MORE ON JACKIE': Closser's 5.2 assists per game average was the 10th-best in Butler history and she has moved into seventh place on Butler's career assists list with 323. Earlier in the season, Closser broke the school's career three-pointers made record. She has hit 186 career treys with a season remaining in her Butler career. The Horizon League record of 277 is within reach.

Closser's 1,072 minutes played (despite missing the Miami (Ohio) game due to injury) rank as the third-highest total in Butler history.

INJURY CUTS BOEKE'S CAREER SHORT: Senior forward Stephanie Boeke missed the end of the season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during Butler's game at Detroit Feb. 6. At the time of her injury, Boeke ranked in the top 10 among Horizon League players in six of the league's 12 statistical categories.

NO. 300: Butler head coach Beth Couture hit the 300 milestone for career wins Jan. 18 with the Bulldogs' 85-72 triumph over Loyola at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The first 258 wins of Couture's career came at Presbyterian College.

ALL-DISTRICT: Butler junior Jackie Closser was recognized as a 2006 CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District selection, earning a spot on the women's basketball District V second team. Closser was honored from a pool of nominees that includes student-athletes from Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ontario and Manitoba. The team was chosen by voting members of the College Sports Information Directors of America and announced Feb. 9. CoSIDA members select the All-District Team based on both athletic and academic performance from a list of nominated student-athletes who hold at least sophomore status, a minimum grade point average of 3.2 and are starters or key reserves for their team.

QUICK SHOTS: Lade Akande earned a spot on the Horizon League's five-member "All-Newcomer Team." Butler has been represented on the team in four of the past five seasons and in all three Beth Couture recruiting classes...Butler has hit at least one three-pointer in 153 straight games, a streak dating back to Feb. 1, 2001...junior Jackie Closser played all 40 minutes in both of the team's tournament games. She went the distance 10 times this season...Ellen Hamilton (Jan. 16) joined Jackie Closser (Dec. 5) and Lade Akande (Dec. 26) in winning the Horizon League's Player of the Week honor. The only other season when three different Bulldogs earned the distinction was the 1996-97 season...former Indiana All-Star Tara Miller has transferred to Butler from Indiana University. The 5-10 guard began practice with the team Jan. 17 and will have three seasons of eligibility remaining, beginning after the first semester of the 2006-07 season.