The Butler women’s basketball team fired up its 2011-12 preseason with a win against St. Francis on Sunday.
Sophomore center Sarah Hamm put up 22 points to lead the Bulldogs to a 76-59 victory.
Freshman forward Haley Howard, made a strong first impression by adding 11 points in the win.
“They shot the heck out of them,” Butler coach Beth Couture said. “At times we looked really good, at times we had a lot of improvement to make, and that’s what I expected.”
It was a solid win for Butler, who led the game from the outset. The Bulldogs out-rebounded the Cougars 46-29 and tallied 18 assists.
Each Butler player recorded at least nine minutes of playing time, and 12 different Bulldogs tallied a point.
St. Francis shot better from the line, though, making 15 of 17 free throws, compared to 7 of 13 by Butler.
In the end, the Bulldogs were able to come away with the victory despite their free throw struggles.
“If we don’t start shooting those better, we’ll have a lot of early morning time to work on it,” Couture said.
This year’s squad includes three returning seniors: Guards Terra Burns, Kaley May and Devin Brierly.
Burns said she is excited for the team’s upcoming season.
“I’m really proud of this team,” Burns said. “I’m glad I came back, and I expect us to do great things.”
The team appears to be a close-knit unit, making the Bulldogs a potentially tough opponent.
“My big thing for this year was our team chemistry,” Brierly said. “I honestly had never been on a team that’s gotten along so well and played so well together.”
“We have a great base, we get along well, and we play great as a team,” May said. “And those are the things you can’t coach.”
For some of the freshmen, their first college performance was a bit nerve-wracking.
“I was really nervous,” freshman guard Jessika Lark said.”[I was] ready to puke.”
The Bulldogs will travel to Iowa City for their next game against Nevada-Las Vegas in the Iowa Tournament on Nov. 12.
The contest will open both the Iowa Tournament and the regular season for the Bulldogs.
“Stay tuned, maybe November will be even better,” Couture said.