JOHN YELEY | STAFF REPORTER
The Butler women’s basketball team turned in a dominating performance in its first official contest of the season, defeating the Cleveland State Vikings (0-1) by a score of 85-69 in Hinkle Fieldhouse Friday night.
Coming off last week’s exhibition victory over DePauw, the Bulldogs (1-0) further demonstrated their offensive depth against the visiting Vikings.
When senior forward Daress McClung encountered foul trouble early on, junior Ijeoma Uchendu came in to score 10 points off the bench in just 18 minutes on the floor.
Junior center Liz Stratman drained eight of 10 shots en route to a career-high 19-point performance, leading Butler to a 43-30 lead at the half.
Stratman, who begins her first full season of eligibility since transferring from Xavier, said the victory against the Vikings — a member of the Butler’s former conference, the Horizon League — reinforces the team’s standing among the elite of the new Big East Conference.
“We had only beat Cleveland State last year by two points, so we had something to prove to them,” Stratman said. “We wanted to make a statement now that we are in the Big East.”
Senior guard Mandy McDivitt added 14 points, including nine from beyond the arc, and junior guard Taylor Schippers turned in a solid night as well with 11 points and four assists.
The Bulldogs finished the night sinking 54 percent of their attempted shots, with five Bulldogs reaching double-digit figures in scoring.
Sophomore guard Blaire Langlois, who made her first collegiate start in the opener, feels confident that her team has the necessary skill, as well as attitude, for a successful year.
“Our mentality was to play hard and have fun,” Langlois said. “(We wanted) to show the fans who came out for our first game that we are a team that is fun to watch and support.”
The Bulldogs will take to the road this Wednesday to face off against Eastern Michigan.
The Eagles are 1-0 after beating NAIA opponent Madonna University 101-52 last Friday. Tip off is 7 p.m. at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, Mich.