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Women’s basketball takes down Butler

Originally published November 19, 2010

After missing the Braves’ final preseason game, sophomore guard Katie Yohn proved to be the spark for the women’s basketball team, who beat Butler 77-63 in last Saturday’s season opener.

While she didn’t score in the first 14 minutes of the second  half, Yohn was able to churn out 10 points in the remaining six minutes to ensure the Bulldogs had no chance of upsetting the Braves in their first game in the arena.

“Katie’s just a nice player. She does so many things,” coach Paula Buscher said. “Last year, she was pretty much a spot-up shooter but this year she’s got so much more confidence putting the ball on the ground and attacking the basket.”

Yohn lead the Braves with 16 points, most of which came in a second half. Butler had shrugged off an abysmal first half start and began an offensive tear in the second to cut the lead to 43-37.

“Katie Yohn stepped up and hit some big shots to get the momentum to swing back our way,” Buscher said.

The second half comeback by Butler was highlighted by Peoria native Terra Burns’ ability to attack the basket with relative ease and the Bulldogs’ ability to shoot 44 percent from three.

“In the second half, I don’t think we did as good of a job defensively,” Buscher said. “We reached a little too much, put them on the line, but that’s what happens. You have to be able to stop runs by good teams, and Butler is a good team, so I knew they were going to come back.”

With just four minutes to go in the second, Butler cut Bradley’s lead to eight, but Yohn displayed her knack for hitting the clutch shot when it mattered most to keep the Bulldogs at bay.

“Last year, I was a lot more timid,” Yohn said. “This year, I definitely know what my role is and I’m a lot more aggressive.”

The first half was a far cry from the second half defensively for the Braves. The first half saw the Braves’ defense operating at a high intensity, holding the Bulldogs to just 14 percent shooting from the field while allowing only five field goals total in the first half.

“Defensively in the first half we played very well,” Buscher said. “Our players did a great job of knowing personnel.”

The Braves were able to blow the game open, scoring the first 11 points in the first half and led by as many as 25.

While the defense didn’t hold up in the second, the Braves were able to stay consistent offensively behind the steady play of senior guard Raisa Taylor and junior forwards Latasha Hollingshed and MacKenzie Westcott .

Taylor’s 13 points and eight rebounds combined with the 14 points off the bench by Hollingshed, kept the persistent offensive output going.

Although Westcott fouled out near the end of the game, but she racked up seven assists, 10 rebounds and three steals to go along with her seven points.

The win marked the first regular season victory for the Braves on campus since Mar. 8, 2008, when the Robertson Memorial Field House held its last regular season game before being torn down to make way for the arena.

The Braves continue their home schedule against the University of Illinois at 7 p.m. Friday at the arena.