A pair of losses in Wisconsin has jeopardized the Butler women’s basketball team’s chances of clinching the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Horizon League tournament.
Saturday, the Bulldogs (17-12, 11-6 HL) faced the No. 13 Green Bay Phoenix.
Butler got off to a strong start, trailing by two eight minutes into the game. However, the Phoenix (27-1, 16-0 HL) turned up the heat, finishing the half on a 10-0 run to send the Bulldogs into the locker room facing a 41-23 deficit.
“They did a lot of really good things, but we did a lot of things to make them good,” Butler senior guard Brittany Bowen said. “The whole game was just 40 minutes of ups and downs.
“We need to concentrate on the little things so that if we do face them again, the downs don’t hurt us as much.”
Green Bay was able to dominate the second half, finishing with a school record 93 points en route to a 93-57 victory. The win was the 27th of the season for Green Bay—also a school record.
Two days earlier, Butler lost to host Milwaukee, 73-66.
The game was close throughout, with neither team leading by more than nine.
Milwaukee senior forward Lindsay Laur scored 20 points and sophmore guard Sami Tucker added 17.
Milwaukee finished the night with eight 3-pointers and shot a perfect 17-for-17 from the free-throw line.
Foul trouble led to unfamiliar lineups for the Bulldogs, which forced junior guard Devin Brierly to come in after senior point guard Azjah Bass picked up her fourth foul early in the second half.
But this didn’t seem to faze the Bulldogs. Butler took a 11-7 lead following a 3-pointer by senior guard Alyssa Pittman. The Bulldogs extended their lead, 17-13, before going on a 3:32 scoring drought that saw Milwaukee tie the game at 20.
The Panthers scored the next eight points to take a 28-20 lead with 5:22 to play in the first half. However, Butler battled back and made a 12-4 run to end the half and tie the score at 32.
Just like the first half, the second half was a back-and-forth bout. A three-point play by Laur put Milwaukee ahead, 69-64, with just 30 seconds to go.
The Bulldogs responded and Pittman found senior forward Chloe Hamilton for a layup with 19 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to two. However, the Panthers were able to seal the victory at the free throw line, winning 73-66.
Butler faces Valparaiso this Saturday in a must-win game to clinch second place in next week’s Horizon League tournament.
Head coach Beth Couture is still optimistic about her squad’s chances.
“You know, if you could script an ending to a season, this would be an ideal way to do it,” Couture said. “We are in a good position because we are in control of our own fate.”