The Butler women’s basketball team brought a five-game winning streak into Chicago last weekend, tagging on two additional wins with victories over UIC and Loyola.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs (13-6, 7-0 HL) knocked off the UIC Flames (8-10, 3-4 HL), 66-61.
Senior Chloe Hamilton finished with a career-high 27 points on 12-of-20 shooting and earned Horizon League Player of the Week honors.
“UIC is very athletic and we were concerned because they’re a very good team,” Hamilton said. “They may have lost some games that they probably shouldn’t have, but we knew going into the game that it was going to be a battle.”
Butler found itself deadlocked at 47 midway through the second half.
The Bulldogs had a sizable rebounding advantage until UIC grabbed several offensive rebounds in the final minutes. Butler out-rebounded UIC 37-34.
Butler also had an edge over the Flames at the free throw line. The Bulldogs were 20 of 24 at the foul line. UIC attempted just seven free throws.
The Flames couldn’t come back after Hamilton completed a 3-point play with just under nine minutes to go to give Butler a 50-47 lead.
Moments later, Hamilton drained another field goal, putting the Bulldogs up by five. Two free throws later, Butler had a 54-47 advantage.
Despite her strong individual performance, Hamilton felt it was the overall energy of the team that allowed the Bulldogs grab the win.
“I thought in the first half our energy wasn’t as good as theirs,” Hamilton said. “But in the second half we matched it, and that’s how I felt we were able to take control and gain the lead.”
Other solid performances were turned out by senior Brittany Bowen, who added 18 points and seven rebounds, and senior Alyssa Pittman, who recorded 10 points and five assists.
Two days earlier, Butler, led by Pittman’s 19 points, defeated Loyola 64-60.
The Bulldogs took a 42-34 lead with less than 13 minutes remaining.
“I think our kids played really hard on defense and did a lot of things to prevent them from getting the easy looks,” head coach Beth Couture said.
However, the run didn’t put the Ramblers (8-10, 2-5 HL) away for good.
Led by sophomore guard Monica Albano and junior forward Ellen Ayoub, Loyola went on a 14-4 run late in the second half to bring the deficit to just three points.
The Bulldogs prevailed in the end thanks to the free throw shooting of Pittman and a key stop on defense.
Pittman led all scorers with 19 points. Bowen recorded a double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing a career-high 14 rebounds. Hamilton added 16 points.
“I felt like the girls really stepped up and got it done when they had to,” Couture said. “It wasn’t a pretty game by any means, but a win is a win and I thought it started the road trip off really well.”
The Chicago sweep vaulted the Bulldogs conference record to a perfect 7-0.
Butler shares the league lead with No. 15 University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix.
The Bulldogs will host the Phoenix on Thursday to break the tie for the conference lead. That game will tip off at 7 p.m. from Hinkle Fieldhouse.