Tag Archive | "Beth Couture"

Women’s basketball: Butler’s skid hits six

The Butler women’s basketball team suffered another setback yesterday, falling 49-46 at Indiana State.

The game marked the sixth straight loss for the Bulldogs (1-7). Of those six losses, five have been decided by 10 points or fewer.

The Sycamores (5-3) got off to a quick start, taking an 8-1 lead after the first five minutes.

However, Butler freshman forward Haley Howard and junior forward Becca Bornhorst accounted for the Bulldogs’ next 13 points, pulling Butler within two.

Howard scored a game-high 17 points.

Photo by Maria Porter

Bornhorst, in her third game back after an injury, posted 14 points in 22 minutes of work, including a 3-pointer before halftime to cut the Bulldogs’ deficit to just one.

“We’ve made progress in areas we’ve been working on,” Bornhorst said, “such as boxing out and having ball pressure on defense. We just have yet to play a full 40 minutes being completely focused on the little things.”

Butler focused on those little things in the second half and appeared primed to snap its losing streak, leading 44-43 with 2:31 remaining.

But, four straight Indiana State free throws gave the Sycamores a three-point lead.

Trailing 49-46 with just four seconds remaining, senior guard Devin Brierly misfired on the front end of a one-and-one. Bornhorst’s ensuing 3-pointer fell off the mark, allowing the Sycamores to pick up their third consecutive win.

“You certainly don’t want to be [1-7], but when you look on the tape and on the floor, I feel like our players are getting better,” coach Beth Couture said. “Our kids are playing really hard right now, but we’re just making a lot of mistakes.”

Three days earlier, the Bulldogs fell to the Bowling Green Falcons 71-61. Butler trailed by just five at halftime, but the Falcons (5-2) pulled away, leading by as many as 17 points in the second half.

Freshman guard Hannah Douglas led Butler with a career-high 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Douglas also pulled down a team-best five rebounds.

“We asked Hannah to be more aggressive and look to score,” Couture said. “She and all of our freshmen are bright spots. It’s just a matter of getting them all on the same page at the same time.”

The Bulldogs will host Ball State this Friday at 7 p.m. in Hinkle Fieldhouse.

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BASKETBALL ISSUE | Fighting like a Bulldog

Photo by Maria Porter

Women’s basketball coach Beth Couture is a fighter. But she won’t tell you that.

After successfully battling breast cancer, Couture never missed a beat, continuing to coach and leading her team to numerous NCAA tournament postseason appearances.

“A fighter is absolutely an accurate title for her,” associate head women’s coach Amy Cherubini said. “She has a lot of passion, and she fought cancer just like she fights on the court. That makes her a success story with her career and her life as well.”

Couture even fought through a two-day, 15-mile walk to raise money and awareness for cancer and said she was motivated to keep going by the generosity of the doctors she received treatment from when she was recovering from cancer.

“It was just a small thing I could do to give back to the doctors and nurses that treat women all across Indianapolis,” Couture said.

Despite being labeled as a fighter, Couture said she finds it odd and would rather see the title given to her players.

“I find that weird when I hear people say that because it is something that is natural for me,” Couture said. “I am honored people think of me that way, and I hope I can live up to that. I just think that success is a choice and when you compete, effort is very important.”

Overall, Couture said that despite the team losing many of its seniors last season, she has high expectations and predicts the will do well this season.

“After losing five players we will have a new look,” Couture said. “Sarah Hamm and Terra Burns are two important ingredients in helping our team, but we will definitely need experience to develop into a solid team.”

Couture said she hopes the team will improve with the older players mentoring the younger players. Couture named Burns as one of the team’s key leaders and expects her to help the younger players improve.

“Our upperclassmen have to mentor the younger players,” Couture said. “It is a long season and I think we have the ingredients to help teach them.”

Though last season the team’s away record was 7-9, Couture said she thinks the team’s youth will actually help them at away games.

“That record was weird because usually our away record is better,” Couture said. “It is up to us as coaches to develop an atmosphere that is conducive for basketball. Usually younger players are more comfortable at away games since they are not used to playing in front of the home crowd, which can get to them.”

Burns said she thinks Couture’s connection to her players is what makes her a good coach.

“Me and coach are really tight,” Burns said. “She has great communication with her players. Of course we are supposed to do our job on the court but of course she still cares for us. Her fight with cancer is inspiring.”

Overall, Couture said that her battle with cancer definitely changed her perspective in coaching and in life.

“It makes you change your priorities and teaches you to not sweat the small stuff,” Couture said. “You just have to let things go and see what is important and reprioritize.”

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BASKETBALL ISSUE | Women’s team: Who’s hot, who’s new, who to watch

Illustration by Maria Porter

Though the men’s season is just beginning, the women’s basketball season has been underway.

After losing many of their seniors last season, the Bulldogs hope to use their youth as an advantage on the court.

“This season we are younger,” said associate head women’s basketball coach Amy Cherubini. “We lost four of our five starters so I think we have gone back to the basics and have to hit on the fundamentals again.

“This is more of a teaching year. We have great team chemistry so we are hoping that will help out and that we will continue to improve.”

Though the team was plagued with numerous injuries last season, there are many players expected to make an impact on the court .

Terra Burns—Team Leader

Fifth-year senior guard Terra Burns is expected to be Butler’s most prolific scorer.

After suffering numerous injuries and being red shirted last season, Burns comes into this season as a leader and hopes to stay injury-free to help lead the team into the NCAA tournament.

“Getting to the tournament is a big goal this year, especially for me,” Burns said. “Focus is a main thing [the team is] trying to do.

“We are just paying attention to details so we can stay focused on the ultimate goal.”

During last year’s season opener, Burns had 11 points and eight rebounds against Bradley and currently averages 8.5 points per game.

“Had she not been injured, [Burns] would have been one of the best point guards in the league last season,” coach Beth Couture said. “She brings a lot of passion and athletic ability when she plays, so I am excited to have her back this year.”

Couture said Burns is one of the team’s leaders to help the younger players, but Burns said she hopes to earn the team’s respect for reasons other than to have the title of a leader.

“I guess I kind of see myself as a leader,” Burns said. “I think it is more so that the players respect me.

“I might not always be playing my best, but you never have to get on me about doing what I am supposed to do in terms of effort. So I think I have gained their respect because of that. Leadership reflects attitude.”

Sarah Hamm—Prolific Scorer

Sophomore center Sarah Hamm comes into this season also recovering from injuries from the previous season.

Before suffering a torn ACL, Hamm was one of the Horizon League’s blocked shots leaders and had her season-high of 15 points and eight rebounds in the Bulldogs’ double overtime win against Ball State.

Hamm finished the season with a shooting percentage of .522.

Assistant coach Tisha Hill said she thinks Hamm has the ability to repeat last season’s success.

“Our job is to bring [the playing ability] out of her, but ultimately it is all on Sarah,” Hill said. “There is no doubt the ability is there. She is a big threat for us, and if she continues to keep doing what she is doing with her rehab, she will be fine.”

Hamm said though she has the ability, she is still working to improve her play.

“I am really working on defense and trying to be stronger in the paint,” Hamm said. “We have an excellent chance of making the tournament, so in practice I have been working on every aspect of the game.”

Amanda Raker—Rising Star

One of the team’s new faces is freshman forward Amanda Raker. As a senior at Perry Meridian High School, Raker shot 53 percent from the floor and was named Most Valuable Player twice.

“[Raker] is learning every day and has a lot of great skills,” Couture said. “She will definitely be a plus for us down low, and we expect her to play for us a lot in the [center] and [forward] positions.”

Hill added that she also expects Raker to be an asset to the team as she grows during the season.

“She is a very good athlete,” Hill said. “She has some good athletic ability she has shown in individual workouts.

“I think she is going to do some great things for us, especially as she grows offensively, but she has that natural athletic ability that can really help in the paint. She has a good role on our team now and in future years.”

Raker said she is working to learn more techniques and skills through practices with the team.

“It is a lot of learning for me,” Raker said. “I have been learning a lot on defense and offense, but the one big thing for me is rebounding.”

Cherubini said the team’s ultimate goal is just to play better each game and to progress as the season goes on.

“With a young group, we will continue to improve every game,” she said. “After every game and every practice, we just have to walk away thinking we have gotten better that day.”

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Women’s basketball: Bulldogs get narrow win

Led by the sharpshooting of senior guard Terra Burns, the Butler women’s basketball team picked up a narrow 69-68 win over Harvard Sunday.

The win marked the Bulldogs’ first of the season and secured the team third place in the Iowa Tournament following an opening-round loss to tournament champion University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Burns posted a team-high 17 points and led all players with nine rebounds.

“We definitely had a point to prove,” Burns said. “The night before, we definitely weren’t the team that I knew we could be.”

Butler (1-1) got out of the gate quickly, shooting 52 percent in the first half. Following a lay up by junior guard Elizabeth Jennings near the 12-minute mark, the Bulldogs never trailed.

Freshman forward Haley Howard paced Butler in the first half with 13 points on a perfect 4-for-4 shooting from the field. The Whiteland native finished with 15 points and eight boards.

The Bulldogs carried a 42-36 lead into halftime and continued their strong play into the second half.

A jumper by freshman guard Hannah Douglas opened up a 67-56 lead—Butler’s largest of the game—with about four minutes remaining.

Harvard (0-2) responded with a 12-2 run that saw the Crimson cut their deficit to one.

The Crimson had possession with 12 seconds remaining, trailing by one, but Butler sophomore guard Jenna Cobb stole the ball from junior forward Emma Golen, sealing the win for the Bulldogs and squandering Harvard’s comeback bid.

“It showed our toughness,” coach Beth Couture said. “I felt good about the composure on the floor. They stayed together as a team.”

One day earlier, Butler was unable to overcome a slow start and suffered a 62-39 loss to UNLV.

The Bulldogs struggled offensively in the first half, shooting 6-of-29 from the field en route to a 17-point halftime deficit.

Sophomore guard Mandy McDivitt led the Bulldogs with 11 points.

In the weekend’s games, six of the eight Bulldogs who received significant minutes were underclassmen.

“I think those young kids are very talented,” Couture said. “If they continue to improve every day, I think we could have a lot of fun come league time.”

Butler will be back in action Sunday when it visits Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (0-3).

On Saturday, the Bulldogs will travel to the Lutheran Children’s Hospital in Fort Wayne, where they will meet and interact with patients.

“We try to do as much as we can helping kids,” Burns said.

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Women’s basketball: Ladies open with win

The Butler women’s basketball team fired up its 2011-12 preseason with a win against St. Francis on Sunday.

Sophomore center Sarah Hamm put up 22 points to lead the Bulldogs to a 76-59 victory.

Freshman forward Haley Howard, made a strong first impression by adding 11 points in the win.

“They shot the heck out of them,” Butler coach Beth Couture said. “At times we looked really good, at times we had a lot of improvement to make, and that’s what I expected.”

It was a solid win for Butler, who led the game from the outset. The Bulldogs out-rebounded the Cougars 46-29 and tallied 18 assists.

Each Butler player recorded at least nine minutes of playing time, and 12 different Bulldogs tallied a point.

St. Francis shot better from the line, though, making 15 of 17 free throws, compared to 7 of 13 by Butler.

In the end, the Bulldogs were able to come away with the victory despite their free throw struggles.

“If we don’t start shooting those better, we’ll have a lot of early morning time to work on it,” Couture said.

This year’s squad includes three returning seniors: Guards Terra Burns, Kaley May and Devin Brierly.

Burns said she is excited for the team’s upcoming season.

Photo by Maria Porter

“I’m really proud of this team,” Burns said. “I’m glad I came back, and I expect us to do great things.”

The team appears to be a close-knit unit, making the Bulldogs a potentially tough opponent.

“My big thing for this year was our team chemistry,” Brierly said. “I honestly had never been on a team that’s gotten along so well and played so well together.”

“We have a great base, we get along well, and we play great as a team,” May said. “And those are the things you can’t coach.”

For some of the freshmen, their first college performance was a bit nerve-wracking.

“I was really nervous,” freshman guard Jessika Lark said.”[I was] ready to puke.”

The Bulldogs will travel to Iowa City for their next game against Nevada-Las Vegas in the Iowa Tournament on Nov. 12.

The contest will open both the Iowa Tournament and the regular season for the Bulldogs.

“Stay tuned, maybe November will be even better,” Couture said.

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Lester takes talents to Turkey

Former Butler women’s basketball player Susan Lester is making a big geographical jump to continue her playing career.

Lester, a 2010 graduate, signed to play professionally with a team in Mersin, Turkey, on Thursday.

“I’m very excited for the opportunity to play professional basketball overseas,” Lester said in a press release. “I had a thousand thoughts go through my mind.”

The former Bulldog finished 10th on the Butler women’s all-time scoring list, as well as fourth all-time in rebounding.

“I’m excited that this opportunity came available for Susan,” Butler coach Beth Couture said. “She is one of the most accomplished players I’ve had in my years at Butler, and I’m sure she will be very successful at the next level.”

At Butler, Lester was named to the all-newcomer team in 2007 and was recognized as the 2010 Horizon League Sixth Player of the Year.

She was also part of the Butler volleyball team last season, helping the squad to an NCAA tournament appearance.

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Bowen to play basketball overseas

It is roughly 4,200 miles from Indianapolis to the nation of Denmark. Former Butler University women’s basketball player Brittany Bowen will be making the trip to continue her playing career in Horsens, Denmark for the Horsens Pirates.

“I’m going from being a Bulldog to a Pirate, but I will always bleed Butler blue,” Bowen said Thursday in a press release.

Bowen led the Bulldogs in scoring last season by averaging just under 16 points per contest en route to garnering second team All-Horizon League honors.

The decision came as no surprise to Bowen’s former coaches and teammates, including junior forward Becca Bornhorst, who played alongside Bowen during the past two seasons.

“Brittany was always in the gym trying to get better,” Bornhorst said. “I really looked up to her. She was more like an older sister to me than a teammate.”

Known as a versatile offensive player, Bowen ranks fifth on Butler’s all-time scoring list and increased her scoring average in each of her four seasons as a Bulldog.

During her Butler career, Bowen helped lead the Bulldogs to four straight 20-win seasons, four consecutive appearances in the Horizon League championship game and three consecutive WNIT berths.

Butler head coach Beth Couture recruited Bowen and saw firsthand Bowen’s development into a Horizon League standout.

“The coaching staff and I are really excited for her,” Couture said. “This is a great opportunity for her to grow both as a basketball player and an individual.”

Couture spoke with Bowen after the announcement and had encouraging parting words for her former star.

“I just told her to keep believing in herself and to stay confident,” Couture said.

Bowen will be leaving a conference contender for another strong program. Horsens won a league title in 2007.

“I will be participating in a competitive league where the Pirates are improving every year to win a championship,” Bowen said. “I wouldn’t have had this opportunity arise without the support of everyone. I’m looking forward to representing Butler well in Denmark.”

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Wisconsin Woes: WBB drops two on road

A pair of losses in Wisconsin has jeopardized the Butler women’s basketball team’s chances of clinching the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Horizon League tournament.

Saturday, the Bulldogs (17-12, 11-6 HL) faced the No. 13 Green Bay Phoenix.

Butler got off to a strong start, trailing by two eight minutes into the game. However, the Phoenix (27-1, 16-0 HL) turned up the heat, finishing the half on a 10-0 run to send the Bulldogs into the locker room facing a 41-23 deficit.

“They did a lot of really good things, but we did a lot of things to make them good,” Butler senior guard Brittany Bowen said. “The whole game was just 40 minutes of ups and downs.

“We need to concentrate on the little things so that if we do face them again, the downs don’t hurt us as much.”

Green Bay was able to dominate the second half, finishing with a school record 93 points en route to a 93-57 victory. The win was the 27th of the season for Green Bay—also a school record.

Two days earlier, Butler lost to host Milwaukee, 73-66.

The game was close throughout, with neither team leading by more than nine.

Milwaukee senior forward Lindsay Laur scored 20 points and sophmore guard Sami Tucker added 17.

Milwaukee finished the night with eight 3-pointers and shot a perfect 17-for-17 from the free-throw line.

Foul trouble led to unfamiliar lineups for the Bulldogs, which forced junior guard Devin Brierly to come in after senior point guard Azjah Bass picked up her fourth foul early in the second half.

But this didn’t seem to faze the Bulldogs. Butler took a 11-7 lead following a 3-pointer by senior guard Alyssa Pittman. The Bulldogs extended their lead, 17-13, before going on a 3:32 scoring drought that saw Milwaukee tie the game at 20.

The Panthers scored the next eight points to take a 28-20 lead with 5:22 to play in the first half. However, Butler battled back and made a 12-4 run to end the half and tie the score at 32.

Just like the first half, the second half was a back-and-forth bout. A three-point play by Laur put Milwaukee ahead, 69-64, with just 30 seconds to go.

The Bulldogs responded and Pittman found senior forward Chloe Hamilton for a layup with 19 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to two. However, the Panthers were able to seal the victory at the free throw line, winning 73-66.

Butler faces Valparaiso this Saturday in a must-win game to clinch second place in next week’s Horizon League tournament.

Head coach Beth Couture is still optimistic about her squad’s chances.

“You know, if you could script an ending to a season, this would be an ideal way to do it,” Couture said. “We are in a good position because we are in control of our own fate.”

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