By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
As the Butler Bulldogs pull into Ball State tonight for a women’s basketball game, Pendleton Heights graduate Hannah Douglas is in a couple of familiar roles.
Her on-floor role is the same one she had for four years as an Arabian.
“I need to be an offensive threat,” said Douglas in a Monday telephone interview. “That doesn’t mean I need to score 30 points because that’s not what we need. But I need to rebound. I need to play good defense. I need to be an all-around player.”
Butler coach Beth Couture agreed and said, “We definitely want Hannah to be a scorer. She’s kind of unusual in that she’s a good mid-range scorer. I’m not afraid to have her take on about anyone. She gets such great elevation on her shot. She’s going to be one of the better players in the (Atlantic)-10.”
Douglas’ other role is that of a team leader, even though she’s just a sophomore. Becca Bornhorst would have been the team’s lone senior, but she is injured and finished for her career. Sarah Hamm also is injured and won’t play this season.
“Honestly, I’ve never coached a team this young before,” said Couture. “We do have experience. We have sophomores who got a lot of experience a year ago. But we still have a lot of freshmen. I know Hannah can provide leadership. She came from a great program and had a great coach.”
Douglas has trouble picking just one or two things that she learned in her first season of college ball.
“I learned so much,” she said as a preface to her remarks. “It is completely different than high school. The difference is in intensity and in the speed of the game. But I think we are preparing the freshmen for that by the competitive practice we have.”
The Bulldogs are 0-1 going into tonight’s contest, having lost their opener at Marquette 73-62. The Cardinals sport the same record. But there were bright spots in Butler’s loss in which Douglas scored nine points.
“We were down like 17 points, and we got together as a team and said we weren’t going to give up, and we fought back,” said Douglas. “We cut it down to about six.”
“I was impressed with how hard they played,” said Couture of the opener. “We made some mistakes, but hopefully we’ll learn from those. They came in (Monday) ready to practice.”
The Ball State game carries some significance, but hopefully not too much.
“We want the players to know about in-state rivalries,” said Couture. “But right now our focus is to get better.”
“We’ve played against all those girls since we were young,” said Douglas of the Ball State players. “We know them. We know their families from AAU ball.”
Just being out on the court is enough to bring a smile from her voice all the way through the phone line.
“After a month-and-a-half of practice, it’s great to be playing some games,” said Douglas. “We’ve got four games in two weeks. We’re looking forward to it.”
Butler’s home opener is Saturday at 2 p.m. against Fairfield.