November 8, 2006

Women's Basketball Begins Regular Season Against Illinois This Weekend

Nov. 8, 2006

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Butler (0-0) at Illinois (0-0)
Date: Sunday, November 12, 2006
Time: 2:00 p.m. CST
Location: Assembly Hall (16,618) Champaign, Ill.

Tip-Off: The Bulldogs open the 2006-07 regular slate against Illinois on Sunday (Nov. 12) beginning at 2:00 p.m. CST in Assembly Hall. The contest will also serve as the regular-season opener for the Fighting Illini. The two teams will be meeting for the first time since the 1998-99 season, when the Bulldogs worked a 81-65 victory at the San Diego Masry and Vititoe Classic.

Butler Claims Exhibition Win: Butler controlled the boards all night, ripping down 61 rebounds in the game, in defeating the Hoosier Lady Stars, 65-59, on Oct. 31 in the Bulldogs' lone exhibition contest. Jackie Closser led four Butler players in double-figures, netting 21 points and adding eight assists and six boards. Candace Bain (12), Mel Thornton (11) and Lade Akande (10) also posted strong offensive showings, while Cassie Freeman led the way with 10 rebounds.

Butler Basketball on the Web: Cory Schnurbusch steps in as the play-by-play voice of the Butler women's basketball team, broadcasting live game action on the web at www.ButlerSports.com. Butler Athletics will again offer the live feed for free this season and will also have video streaming available for all home contests during the year.

Bulldogs Tabbed Third: The Bulldogs were picked to finish third in the Horizon League this season in a poll of the league's coaches, sports information directors and media. Butler tallied 192 points in the poll, including one first-place vote, and finished just six points behind second-place UW-Milwaukee (198). UW-Green Bay was selected to win the regular season title, receiving 234 points and 22 of the 27 voters' first-place ballots.

Doubling-Up the First Team: Senior Jackie Closser and sophomore Lade Akande were both mentioned among the Horizon League's finest as members of the 2006-07 Preseason All-League First Team. Butler was the only school to have multiple players mentioned on the five-player team.

Three Times The Leadership: Senior guards Jackie Closser and Ellen Hamilton and junior forward Cassie Freeman were named team captains for the 2006-07 season. Closser returns as a second-year captain after receiving the honor as a junior, while Freeman and Hamilton earned the distinctions by a vote of the Butler players. The trio combined for 183 of the team's 223 three-pointers in 2005-06 and provide leadership both vocally and in their style of play.

Back For More: The Bulldogs return nearly 95 percent of their scoring from last season in their eight returning players. The octet also combined to nail down every one of the team's 223 three-pointers last year.

The Race to 1,000: Seniors Jackie Closser and Ellen Hamilton sit on the verge of becoming just the 17th and 18th players in Butler history to score 1,000 points in their careers. The two players stand just over 100 points away from the standard, with Closser totalling 890 during her career and Hamilton notching 885 in her three seasons. With just a five-point gap separating the two at the start of the season, the race to 1,000 will likely be a photo-finish.

Triple Team: Butler was the undisputed champion in the Horizon League when it came to hitting shots from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs' 223 three-pointers-made paced the league and was the fifth-highest total in the NCAA. Additionally, the squad's league-leading .393 three-point percentage was the eighth-best rate in the nation and set a Butler single-season record.

Spark from the Arc: Closser was a major reason for the Bulldogs' success from three-point land in 2005-06, as the 5-5 guard shattered her own Butler single-season mark with 84 three-pointers. Her total not only paced the team and the league but was the fourth-highest yearly 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.

Keeping it Going: Jackie Closser made sure that every opponent got to feel her wrath from beyond the arc last season, connecting from downtown in all 28 of her games played in 2005-06.

A Little Bit of Help: Closser was not the only Bulldog lighting it up from downtown last season. Hamilton's 69 treys in 2005-06 was the second-highest single-season total in school history. Additionally, her 46.6 percent-made paced the league and was the fifth-highest mark in the NCAA.

Lade To Remember: Lade Akande got off to a torrid start in her collegiate career as a freshman last season, leading the Bulldogs in scoring (16.2 ppg) and rebounding (8.0 rpg). Her 470 points were also the fifth-highest total in school history and the most ever for a freshman.

Posting-Up From Downtown: Junior forward Cassie Freeman finished third in the Horizon League in three-point percentage last season, knocking down 45.5 percent. In fact, she was the only post player ranked among the league's top 15 three-point shooters.

Taking Advantage of Charity: Sophomore guard Candace Jones certainly took full advantage of her trips to the free throw line last season. Her 89.4 percent (42-of-47) accuracy from the charity stripe paced the team in 2005-06.

It's Miller Time: Well, not quite yet. Sophomore guard Tara Miller will have to wait until the end of the fall semester to become eligible for play this season. The 5-10 Ramsey, Ind. native transferred to Butler in the fall of 2005 from Indiana University.

Court and Classroom Presence: 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. The team was chosen by voting members of the College Sports Information Directors of America and was based on both athletic and academic performance from a list of nominated student-athletes who held at least sophomore status, a minimum grade point average of 3.2 and were starters or key reserves on their team.

Alaska Later: The Bulldogs will travel over 7,500 miles round-trip prior to Thanksgiving when they head to Anchorage, Alaska for the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout from Nov. 21-22. Butler will take on UC Riverside at 8:00 p.m. Alaska Time on Nov. 21 (or midnight Eastern on Nov. 22) before taking on either Alaska-Anchorage or Air Force the following day.

At The Buzzer: The Bulldogs return to Hinkle Fieldhouse for the home opener on Nov. 17 when they host Bradley in a 7:00 p.m. contest.