Women’s basketball splits conference affairs

A career night from senior forward Brittany Bowen wasn’t enough for the women’s basketball team, as Butler lost to Cleveland State Saturday, 69-64.

Bowen led the Bulldogs (15-10, 9-4 HL) with 31 points and 11 rebounds, scoring nearly half of Butler’s points. Two final-minute free throws from Cleveland State junior center Destinee Blue sealed the win for the Vikings (14-10, 7-6 HL).

Head coach Beth Couture commented on why many of her players have had career nights over the past few weeks.

“It’s about match-ups,” she said. “We have many players who are very good offensively and it’s just about knowing when someone has an advantage and exploiting it.

“[Bowen] did a very good job of that on Saturday and Chloe Hamilton did as well against Youngstown. We’re just waiting for it to all happen at once.”

The Bulldogs got off to a slow start, facing a 6-0 deficit after the first minute. Couture and her squad would quickly battle back, going on a run to lead, 16-15, just minutes later.

Cleveland State sophomore forward Shalonda Winton would lead the Vikings to a 32-29 lead at the half.

The Bulldogs didn’t fare well after intermission, trailing for most of the second half. However, a Butler run fueled by junior guard Devin Brierly saw the Bulldogs tied with Cleveland State with under two minutes remaining.

With 1:01 remaining, a shot in the lane by senior Alyssa Pittman gave Butler a 64-63 lead, its first advantage since early in the second half.

Cleveland State junior guard Janelle Adams answered with a 3-point play to put the Vikings ahead, 66-64.

With the final seconds ticking away, a 3-point attempt from Bowen was too strong. Butler was forced to foul on the other end of the court, where Blue would make the two free throws to finish the game.

Bowen’s 9-for-19 performance was tops for the Bulldogs, while Brierly finished with 16 points, shooting 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.

Winton led Cleveland State with 20 points. Blue and senior Shawnita Garland both had 13 points for the Vikings, and Blue also contributed 11 rebounds.

“We had a great weekend,” Bowen said. “We may have lost to Cleveland State, but we were definitely in the game and played well.

“I feel that, if anything, our two losses at home the weekend prior hurt our morale a little more than they should’ve.”

Couture looks to guide her team back to its winning ways as the regular season approaches its end.

“I think we have to get back our edge,” Couture said. “We’re not always going to do everything right, but I think we need to get back to not

worrying about standings, the weeks ahead or the next team we’re going to play.”

The Bulldogs will look to regain their edge against two Chicago teams when they face UIC Thursday and Loyola  Saturday.

“We’re going up against two pretty tough teams,” Bowen said. “But I think the majority of practice will be for concentrating on us.

“It’ll be about doing what we need to do to make ourselves better.”