The Butler women’s basketball team ended the week on a high note after beating Milwaukee (6-13, 2-7) 76-63 at home on Saturday.
According to Butler coach Beth Couture, working hard for rebounds and assists was crucial for the Bulldogs (8-12, 4-5).
Butler ended the game with 40 rebounds to Milwaukee’s 19.
“I think we were aggressive,” Couture said. “I was really pleased with their fight. At halftime I told them we really have to pick up the defense, and I think that was the difference.”
Sophomore center Sarah Hamm had her best outing of the season, posting a career-high 30 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.
After the Panthers cut their deficit to one point with 7:04 remaining, Hamm scored two quick field goals to give Butler momentum and a 63-58 lead.
Hamm attributed her success on the floor to her teammates, including junior forward Becca Bornhorst, who had 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, and sophomore guard Jenna Cobb, who also posted a career-high 16 points with six assists.
“I think we have to play hard to get out of those kinds of situations,” Hamm said. “I think what really helps me are the playmakers who make things happen and get me points.”
Couture said she also recognized Bornhorst’s positive impact on the game.
“[Bornhorst] having six [defensive rebounds] and four [offensive rebounds] is what we need her to do,” Couture said. “Her 10 points were great, but at the end of the day we really need her rebounds, so I thought she was really good.”
Bornhorst said she tried to find a good formula to help her make good plays for her team.
“I just let the game come to me, and I finally found a rhythm and just played relaxed,” Bornhorst said. “Our team played well all around, and we executed offensively and hit shots.”
The game served as a stark contrast to the team’s 60-36 home loss to No. 9 Green Bay on Thursday.
Despite losing the contest, the Bulldogs kept the Phoenix (19-0, 9-0) to their lowest score of the season. Their previous low was 65 points against Wisconsin.
“I thought in the first five minutes we played really good defense but could not score,” Couture said.
After being down 42-13 at halftime, the Bulldogs attempted to make a comeback in the second half, outscoring the Phoenix 23-18. It bore resemblance to Butler’s 60-57 comeback win over Loyola of Chicago on Jan. 21 but ultimately had a different result.
“We just got back to the gameplan [in the second half],” Couture said. “When you play the No. 9 team in the country, and they play like that, it is hard to make a comeback.”
The Bulldogs will start a two-game road swing tomorrow night at Cleveland State before heading to Youngstown State on Saturday.