Bulldogs Head To IPFW On Tuesday

Bulldogs Head To IPFW On Tuesday

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Butler (0-1) at IPFW (0-1)
November 18, 2008 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Hilliard Gates Sports Center - Fort Wayne, Ind.

The Opening Tip: The Bulldogs continue their non-conference schedule on Tuesday (Nov. 18) when they travel north to Fort Wayne, Ind., for a 7:00 p.m. contest against IPFW. Both teams will be trying to rebound from season-opening defeats at the hands of Big Ten teams, with Butler falling to No. 18/19 Ohio State, 75-56, and the Mastodons dropping a 64-44 contest at Illinois.

Bring `Em Back: Butler returns 11 of 13 letterwinners from 2007-08, accounting for 91 percent of its scoring, 91 percent of its rebounding and 92 percent of its assists.

Bulldogs Tabbed Fifth In League Preseason Poll: The Butler women's basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the Horizon League regular season this year according to the league's preseason poll. The Bulldogs received a total of 204 points in the poll as well as one first-place vote. Green Bay, last year's regular season champion, was the poll's top vote getter, garnering 284 total points and 24 of the 29 first-place ballots. Wright State (241 point, 1 first place vote) edged out Milwaukee (240, 2) for second place overall, while 2008 Horizon League tournament champion Cleveland State (228, 1) checked in at fourth-place.

Akande, Lester Earn Preseason Honors: For the fourth-straight season, a pair of Bulldogs have earned spots on the Preseason All-Horizon League teams, as senior center Lade Akande was named to the all-league first team and junior forward Susan Lester was tabbed to the second team. Akande, a native of Robinson, Ill., earns mention on the preseason squads for the third-straight season, while Lester, a native of Anderson, Ind., receives the honor for the second time in as many years.

Battle-Tested: Butler will take on as many as nine opponents that advanced to post season play last year, including Cleveland State, Dayton, Evansville, Green Bay, Indiana, Miami (Ohio), Nebraska, New Mexico and Ohio State. The Buckeyes handed the Bulldogs a season-opening defeat on Nov. 14, topping Butler 75-56.

A Look At IPFW: Butler faces IPFW for the seventh time in history, with the all-time series tied at three wins each. The Mastodons enter Tuesday's contest after dropping their season opener against Illinois, 64-44, on Friday (Nov. 14) at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center. Freshman guard Anne Boese led the way with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field and five three-pointers. IPFW returns three starters and nine of 12 letterwinners from a 2007-08 team that finished 12-18 overall and 9-9 in the Summit League. Sophomore guard Jordan Zuppe is the top returning scorer, averaging 11.2 points last year.

The Last Time Out: Melanie Thornton registered career-highs with 18 points and seven steals and the Bulldogs held host No. 18/19 Ohio State to just 31 percent shooting in the opening period, but the Buckeyes would find their shooting touch after the break before pulling away late in sending Butler to a 75-56 defeat at Value City Arena on Nov. 14 evening. A stingy Butler defense limited the Buckeyes to just nine first-half field goals and contained preseason Big Ten Player of the Year Jantel Lavender to the tune of five points on 2-for-7 shooting en route just a four-point deficit at the break.

Quite An Opener: Melanie Thornton had a career night at nationally-ranked Ohio State in the Bulldogs' season opener. The Carmel, Ind., native led the team with a career-high 18 points on 8-for-16 shooting from the field and forced a career-best seven steals in the contest - all coming in the first half. Her eight rebounds, meanwhile, paced the Bulldogs and were one shy of her career-best total of nine.

A Sign Of Things To Come: Freshman guard Devin Brierly didn't waste too much time to get started on her college career. The Hanover, Ind., native notched her first collegiate points against the Buckeyes, hitting her second three-point attempt of the game a little over three minutes after subbing in. She finished her prep career at Southwestern High School with 1,278 points - the fourth-most in school history - and was presented with the team's 3-Point Award all four seasons.

Getting Started: Sophomore guard Terra Burns earned her first collegiate start at Ohio State last weekend and played a career-high 20 minutes with two rebounds and an assist. The Peoria, Ill., native came off the bench in 16 games as a freshman, averaging 4.4 minutes per contest.

National Attention: The Butler women's basketball team will get national attention later in the season, as the Bulldogs' game against Wright State on Feb. 6 will be broadcast live on ESPNU beginning at 9 p.m. at Hinkle Fieldhouse. It will be the fourth time in four seasons Butler will appear on the ESPN network. The Bulldogs' appearance in the 2007 Horizon League Championship game against Green Bay was broadcast live on ESPNU, while Butler's regular season road games against the Phoenix last spring and during the 2005-06 campaign were both carried on ESPNU.

Butler Basketball On The Web: Twenty-three of the Bulldogs' games this season will feature live streaming video online. The Horizon League Network will feature 21 of the contests, including all of Butler's home games and every league road game. Additionally, the Bulldogs' match at Indiana will be streamed at BigTenNetwork.com, while its contest at Ohio State last weekend was carried on the online network.

Moving Up The List: Senior Lade Akande continues her ascent up the Bulldogs' all-time scoring list. With eight points against Ohio State on Nov. 14, the Robinson, Ill., native touts 1,368 points in her career - the seventh-most all-time - and needs just 11 more to pass both Sue Morris (1,375) and Beth Piepenbrink (1,378) for fifth-place. Akande became just the 19th player in school history to notch 1,000 points in her career early last season and quickly climbed up to seventh by the end of the year. She also became the first non-senior player to reach 1,000 points in her career since Jennifer Marlow in 1997-98.

In Elite Company: Lade Akande not only ranks among the top Butler scorers, but she is also fourth on the Butler charts with 111 career blocks. Additionally, with 577 career rebounds, she is 23 boards shy of becoming just the fourth Bulldog player ever with over 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 100 blocks in her career.

Next In Line?: In her third season with the team, sophomore Susan Lester has totalled 676 points in her career, the second most among Butler's active players.

National Recognition For Passing: Tara Miller found herself among the best in the country when it came to handling the ball during the 2007-08 campaign. She finished the season ranked second in all of the NCAA Division-I with a 2.84 A/T ratio, just three hundredths of a point behind national leader Kristi Cirone of Illinois State (2.87). Miller was ranked first or second nationally in A/T ratio from Jan. 14 to the end of the year, including a 25-day stint from Jan. 14 to Feb. 7 at the top of the NCAA charts. Her 3.0 assists per game were the second-most on the team and the 14th most in the league.

Hard To Miss: Lade Akande was not only one of the most effective scorers in the Horizon League last year, she was also one of the most efficient shooters in the nation. Akande finished the 2007-08 season with a .559 field goal percentage (204-for-365), the 17th-best in the Division I rankings.

Candace And Candyce: Different spellings but the same pronunciation -- and the same results. The Bulldogs received quite a few assists from the steady hands of guards Candace Jones and Candyce Brown during the 2007-08 season. Jones, a starter in 19 games during the year, led the team with 3.1 dishes per game, while Brown, a 13-game starter, ranked third with 2.4. In fact, one or the other was the assists leader in 18 of the team's games during the year.

Cleaning The Glass: Sophomore forward Susan Lester continued to be one of the best rebounders in the Horizon League in 2007-08 after finishing third in the league with 6.6 rebounds per game as a freshman. The Anderson, Ind., native finished second in the conference with 7.3 boards per game, posted nine or more rebounds on 12 occasions and totaled a team-best nine double-doubles.

Talented Rookie Tandem: Butler newcomers Devin Brierly and Kaley May will both be expected to make significant contributions in their first seasons with the team. Brierly, a 5-9 guard from Southwestern High School in Hanover, Ind., was a McDonalds All-America nominee, while May, a 5-11 guard/forward from Avon (Ind.) High School, was also nominated for the national award.

Crunching The Numbers: The Bulldogs' 20-10 overall mark in 2007-08 was the program's best single-season record since the 1997-98 team finished the year at 25-6. Butler's 20 victories were also the most in a single season during head coach Beth Couture's six years at the helm.

Next Up: The Bulldogs welcome Dayton to Indianapolis on Friday (Nov. 21) for Butler's home opener beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Hinkle Fieldhouse.