Butler Opens Home Slate Against Bradley On Friday

Nov. 15, 2006

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Bradley (1-1) at Butler (0-1)
Date Friday, November 17, 2006
Time 7:00 p.m. EST
Location Hinkle Fieldhouse (11,043) Indianapolis, Ind.

Tip-Off: Butler returns to Hinkle Fieldhouse on Friday (Nov. 17) when they open up the home schedule against Bradley beginning at 7:00 p.m. EST. The two teams will be meeting for the first time since the 2003-04 season, when the Bulldogs scored a 64-58 win in Peoria, Ill. Butler holds a 14-17 record in home openers, including a 2-2 mark under head coach Beth Couture.

Butler Basketball on the Web: Cory Schnurbusch steps in as the play-by-play voice of the Butler women's basketball team for the 2006-07 season, 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.

Previewing The Bulldogs: Butler (0-1) will once again be turning to the three-pointer to provide their offensive spark this season. The Bulldogs were tough to beat from beyond the arc in the Horizon League last season, netting 223 treys for the fifth-highest total in the NCAA. Senior guards Jackie Closser (3.00) and Ellen Hamilton (2.38) paced the league in three-pointers per game last year and are just over 100 points shy of eclipsing 1,000 in their careers. Sophomore center Lade Akande gives the Bulldogs a strong presence inside after finishing second in the league rebounding (8.0) and third in points (16.2) last season. Junior forward Cassie Freeman and sophomore guard Candace Jones started and led the team with 11 points each against Illinois in the season opener, while junior forward Candace Bain and sophomore guard Candyce Brown each saw significant playing time against the Fighting Illini. Head coach Beth Couture (307-184) is in her fifth season with the Bulldogs.

Feisty Bulldogs Fall Just Short At Illinois: Butler battled Illinois punch for punch late into the ballgame but was unable to hold on in the final minutes, as the Bulldogs fell by a 65-47 count in their season-opener in Assembly Hall on Nov. 12. Butler led 12-4 early on and trailed by only one with 10 minutes remaining, but the Illini held the Bulldog offense in check down the stretch to secure the win. Cassie Freeman and Candace Jones led the team with 11 points each, while Lade Akande added 10 points and pulled in a team-best six rebounds.

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.

Keeping it Going: With her two makes from behind the arc against Illinois, Jackie Closser extended her three-point streak to 29 games. She made sure that every opponent got to feel her wrath from three-point last season, connecting from downtown in all 28 of her games played in 2005-06.

The Race to 1,000: With nine points against the Fighting Illini, guard Jackie Closser now stands just 101 points shy of becoming the 17th player in school history with 1,000 career points. Fellow guard Ellen Hamilton is not far behind, needing just 111 to eclipse 1,000 after notching four points against Illinois. With a gap of just 10 points between the two, the race to 1,000 has a good chance of being a photo-finish.

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.

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.

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 the Butler 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.

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 the fifth-highest total in school history and the most ever for a freshman.

Posting-Up From Downtown: Junior forward Cassie Freeman ranked third in the Horizon League in three-point percentage last season, hitting 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.

At The Buzzer: The Bulldogs hop a plane to Alaska on Saturday (Nov. 18) for the Great Alaska Shoot-out, hosted by Alaska-Anchorage from Nov. 21-22. Butler will square-off against UC Riverside on Tuesday (Nov. 21) beginning at midnight eastern time and will face either the host Seawolves or Air Force the following day.