The Butler women’s basketball team sent its senior class out in style with a pair of victories over UIC and Loyola.
Saturday versus Loyola, the Bulldogs (17-10, 11-4 HL) started strong, making three 3-pointers in the first two minutes of regulation to take a 9-0 lead.
The Bulldogs went into halftime with a 39-20 lead.
En route to the 69-53 win, head coach Beth Couture subbed each senior out one by one, allowing the home crowd to give the seniors a proper send-off.
The seniors didn’t disappoint in their final home game.
Senior guard Brittany Bowen led the Bulldogs with 18 points, while seniors Chloe Hamilton and Azjah Bass finished with 11 and eight respectively. Bass also dished out a career-high nine assists.
Senior guard Alyssa Pittman finished with five points, and senior Terra Burns sat out due to injury.
“Thanks to the support from the faculty, staff and the tremendous crowd that was on hand, it was a fun day,” Bass said. “Winning always helps but I definitely felt that we came out focused and ready to play.”
The spotlight wasn’t just on the seniors. Junior Devin Brierly drained four 3-pointers to finish with 12 points.
Sophomore guard Monica Albano led Loyola (11-14, 5-9 HL) with 28 points.
Two days earlier, Butler played host to the UIC Flames.
The Bulldogs captured an early lead thanks to sharp shooting from beyond the arc, connecting on their first four 3-pointers.
Butler went on a 25-7 run to take a 19-point lead with 5:32 remaining in the first half.
Pittman hit a pair of threes and a layup to lead Butler into halftime with a 48-28 lead.
“We started our seniors in both games and I thought they did an excellent job of showing their urgency and that they wanted to come out and win,” Couture said. “It was good to see such an aura of confidence.
“I felt that we looked solid, not just with our scoring but also with rebounding and assists as well, which is excellent to see at this point in the season,” she said.
The Bulldogs kept that intensity throughout the second half.
A 3-pointer by freshman guard Mandy McDivitt gave Butler a 70-41 lead with just over eight minutes to play.
The Flames (11-13, 6-7 HL) couldn’t cut the deficit and the Bulldogs ran away with a 78-57 victory.
Pittman led the charge with 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Hamilton and Bowen added 18 and 12, respectively.
“Today was something our seniors won’t forget,” Couture said. “Not only did they play well, but they were having fun together. They were really supporting each other.”
With the pair of victories, the senior class has now won 80 games, fourth-most in Butler women’s basketball history.
The Bulldogs, currently second in the Horizon League standings, will travel to Wisconsin to play Milwaukee Thursday and No. 14 Green Bay Saturday. Green Bay sits atop the conference standings with a perfect 14-0 record in league play.
Bass knows how important the final stretch of the season is.
“We want to be talked about as one of the best teams in the league throughout postseason play, so we have to make sure we don’t get ahead of ourselves. Every game makes a difference.”