After winning two of their last three games, the Butler women’s basketball team dropped a close one on the road to Evansville last night, 51-49.
Butler (4-4) won the battle on the boards, 42-29, with senior guard Chloe Hamilton recording 10 rebounds and tying her season-high.
Butler head coach Beth Couture called the game her team’s best rebounding performance of the season.
However, the Bulldogs’ efforts weren’t enough to offset their offensive woes.
Butler, which had been averaging nearly 70 points per game this season, was held to 49 points on 20-of-59 shooting from the field.
Furthermore, the Bulldogs shot 45.5 percent from the free throw line as opposed to the Purple Aces’ 81.8 percent.
Senior Brittany Bowen, who tallied 30 points in a win over Indiana State on Saturday (Dec. 4), was limited to just six versus the Purple Aces.
“As a team, we just couldn’t score,” Couture said. “We missed probably 10 to 15 in the paint that we usually make.
“Brittany Bowen still got to the hole, but the shots just weren’t falling for her.”
Evansville (5-3) made it a point to put pressure on Butler’s backcourt.
With senior starting point guard Terra Burns out due to injury, the Bulldogs were forced to rely on other options at the guard positions.
“Evansville put enough pressure on our guards to keep us from seeing all of our options,” Couture said. “I’m not sure we did a good job as a team to relieve that.”
Despite struggling on the offensive end, Couture’s squad kept the game close by playing solid defense.
Butler was able to hold Evansville well under their 64.2 points per game average and forced 15 turnovers.
Evansville never led by more than five in the second half and the Bulldogs had more than a few opportunities to take the lead late in the game.
With only 20 seconds of play remaining, Evansville junior guard Staci Gillum split a pair of free throws to give the Purple Aces a 51-49 lead.
On the ensuing possession, the Bulldogs looked to Bowen, their go-to scorer.
Evansville sophomore guard Taylor Ware managed to block Bowen’s attempt.
However, Butler freshman center Sarah Hamm grabbed the rebound for the Bulldogs and put up one final shot.
Hamm’s attempt was off the mark and Evansville secured the rebound along with their fifth victory of the season.
The Bulldogs will look to get back on track Sunday when they travel to Muncie, Ind., to take on in-state rival Ball State (4-3).
Butler defeated Ball State last season in Hinkle Fieldhouse, 82-67, one season after Ball State defeated then-No. 5 seed Tennessee to advance to the NCAA tournament’s second round.
Couture said she knows that her team must improve offensively to beat the Cardinals, who are averaging 61.1 points per game this season.
Hamilton said she is confident that she and her teammates will do just that.
“We know we can play defense and we know we can rebound,” Hamilton said. “We just have to be able to put the ball in the hole, and we are going to do that versus Ball State.”