JOHN YELEY | STAFF REPORTER
The Butler women’s basketball team unofficially tipped off its 2013-2014 campaign last Sunday with a dominating 63-41 exhibition victory over the DePauw Tigers at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
All players saw action in the contest, as Butler demonstrated the depth of its roster. It’s an advantage that coach Beth Couture said she sees as invaluable to the team’s successes this season.
Couture said the hope is to build upon last season’s 17-14 record that netted the Bulldogs an appearance in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, and translate it to sucess in the Big East Conference.
“We are going to be deep,” Couture said. “The talent is here. We just have to figure out roles. Only five players can start, but we need everyone to be important for us.”
Following an injury-plagued season last year, the squad is now healthy and ready to endure the trials of a new season.
The latest iteration of Bulldogs features 11 players returning from last season, including three starter. It will be bolstered by a trio of freshmen and two transfer students following a successful summer of recruiting.
The freshmen class includes guard Serena Sandusky and guard/forward Ashton Feldhaus, both Kentucky prep standouts, as well as Israel-native Zoe Reichman, a 6’4” center.
Transferring in to the program are redshirt sophomore guard Loryn Goodwin, from North Texas, as well as junior guard/forward Ijeoma Uchendu from Central Arizona College.
The coaching staff received a minor shake-up as well.
Tisha Hill was promoted to the role of associate head coach after three years serving as an assistant coach for the team.
In advance of Friday’s season opener, the team looks to be capable of handling the new competition the Big East brings.
Couture said she is confident that, while the spotlight on the team may have changed, its goals have not.
“Our expectations don’t change from year to year,” Couture said. “We play hard and try to improve every day in order to make the NCAA Tournament. We feel real fortunate to be in the Big East now because we feel like there are multiple chances to do that versus just winning the (conference) tournament at the end of the season.”
The Bulldogs will face their first challenge Friday at Hinkle when they host Cleveland State of the Horizon League, Butler’s former conference. Game time is set for 7 p.m.