The Butler women’s basketball team entered the weekend two games behind No. 18 Green Bay for the lead in the Horizon League.
With a chance to take control of the league, the Bulldogs (14-9, 8-3 HL) faltered twice at home, losing to Detroit and Wright State.
Saturday, the Bulldogs hosted the Wright State Raiders (14-8, 7-4 HL) in a battle for second place in the conference.
After being down by as many as 15 in the first half, the Bulldogs made a surge in the second half.
Butler found itself down by two points, 68-66, with less than 30 seconds to play.
Senior forward Chloe Hamilton sank a pair of free throws with 12 seconds remaining to tie the game at 68.
Wright State head coach Mike Bradbury then called a 30-second timeout to draw up one final play.
Raider senior point guard LaShawna Thomas broke through the Butler press, which had been effective throughout the game, and attempted a layup that bounced off the rim with six seconds to play.
Wright State senior Ta-myra Davis was able to haul down two offensive rebounds in the final five seconds and netted the winning layup with less than a second left.
The Bulldogs only had a few tenths of a second to work with, which was almost enough.
Freshman guard Mandy McDivitt took a shot from beyond the arc that hit the back of the rim before bouncing out, giving Wright State the 70-68 win.
“We didn’t play 40 minutes, we only played about eight,” head coach Beth Couture said. “That won’t win you any basketball games.”
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs had four players score in double figures. Hamilton led Butler with 15 points and eight rebounds.
“When we have our backs against the wall, we can perform,” Hamilton said. “I just wish we didn’t have our backs against the wall all the time.”
The loss to Wright State closed out a four game homestand for the Bulldogs, during which they won only one game.
Just two days earlier, Butler welcomed Detroit to Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Butler led by as many as six points in the first half, but halftime saw the two teams deadlocked at 25.
The Titans (10-12, 4-7 HL) pulled away in the second half, leading 46-35 with 9:30 remaining. However, Butler refused to go down without a fight.
Back-to-back layups by Bowen and Hamilton cut Detroit’s lead to just two, 47-45.
Hamilton scored again with 36 seconds remaining to make it 53-51.
Detroit struggled at the free throw line all night making—four of 10 attempts—however, sophomore Dominique Dixon converted a pair of free throws to seal the victory for the Titans.
Detroit was led by sophomores Cherridy Thornton and Yar Shayok. Thornton led all scorers with 14 points. Shayok was just short of a double-double, finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Starters Hamilton and Bowen led the Bulldogs with 11 points each, but another poor night from behind the 3-point line hurt the Bulldogs.
In last week’s game against nationally-ranked Green Bay, the Bulldogs struggled from deep, making only two of 15 attempts from 3-point range.
Those woes continued Thursday night against Detroit where Butler shot 2-for-11 from beyond the arc.
Against Detroit, the Bulldogs were out-rebounded 32 to 25 and managed only two offensive rebounds the entire game.
Saturday was Pink Zone Day at Hinkle Fieldhouse, an event promoted by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. During the game, Butler donned pink uniforms in order to raise awareness for breast cancer.
The Bulldogs will travel to Youngstown, Ohio on Thursday to take on Youngstown State.
The Penguins (3-19, 1-10 HL) are at the bottom of the Horizon League, but Couture and Hamilton said they expect a close game.