BY AUSTIN MILLER | ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
Led by sophomore Loryn Goodwin and senior Ijeoma Uchendu, the Butler Bulldogs (9-9, 5-2) reached .500 for the first time this season and won their fifth straight game with a 72-58 victory over Villanova University Friday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The Bulldogs were leading 59-53 with 5:22 remaining, when they used an 11-2 run to put the game away late.
Villanova came out of the gates hot, hitting five of their first 10 three-pointers to go up 15-6 early on. But the Bulldogs closed the half strong to tie the game at 37 on a running layup from Goodwin.
Butler held Villanova to just 21 points in the second half after making some adjustments.
“We just made some small changes in our matchups at halftime and focused on playing as a team,” senior forward Belle Obert said after recording the first double-double of her short career with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
“There was a possession in the first half where we happened to notice that when we switched everything defensively we were able to cover their shooters better,” head coach Kurt Godlevske said. “We made the adjustment at halftime and then came out and executed well.”
Two of the biggest discrepancies on the stat sheet came inside. The Bulldogs outrebounded Villanova 43-26 and held a 40-12 advantage in points in the paint.
“We knew coming in that they liked to look for a lot of three’s and that they would even pass up some inside looks because of it, so we definitely thought we could dominate on the glass with Ijeoma and Belle,” Godlevske said.
Uchendu also notched a double-double on the evening, scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Butler also got solid contributions off the bench from junior Lexus Murry, who added seven points and three rebounds to go with a pair of assists.
Goodwin led the way for the Bulldogs with 25 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
The win puts Butler just a half-game behind DePaul and Seton Hall for first place in the Big East.
The Bulldogs will look to keep their win-steak alive Sunday as they host Georgetown University at Hinkle. The Hoyas are 4-14 on the season and 2-4 in the Big East Tip is set for 1 PM.