#14 Seed Creighton Bluejays (20-12, 11-7 MVC)
vs. #3 Seed St. John’s Red Storm (22-9, 13-3 Big East)
Game #33 • Sunday, March 18 • 4:05 p.m.
Lloyd Noble Center (12,000) • Norman, Okla.
Radio: KOIL AM 1180
Twitter: @GoCreighton, @CreightonWBB
Series History: Creighton leads 1-0
• Creighton is making its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance, also advancing to the Big Dance in 1992, 1994 and 2002.
• Creighton is 2-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, having picked up a win in each of its first two appearances.
• This is the first NCAA Tournament appearance for head coach Jim Flanery in his 10th season at Creighton. Flanery was an assistant coach on Creighton’s previous two NCAA Tournament teams.
• Creighton has advanced to its fifth straight postseason after appearing in the WNIT in each of the last four seasons.
• Creighton earned the MVC’s automatic bid by winning the MVC Tournament as the No. 4 seed last weekend in St. Charles, Mo.
• Creighton has won 20 or more games in six of Jim Flanery’s 10 seasons. Flanery’s .597 winning percentage is the best in school history.
• Creighton annually plays the toughest non-conference schedule in the MVC, this year resulting in a non-conference SOS of 24.
• The Bluejays enter the NCAA Tournament having won eight of their last nine games.
• Creighton leads the MVC in defense, allowing just 56.6 points per game on the season. The Jays allowed only 43.7 points per game during the MVC Tournament.
• St. John’s will be the second ranked Big East team the Bluejays face this season, having lost to No. 3 Notre Dame on Dec. 4 in Omaha. CU outscored the Fighting Irish 37-35 in the second half of that loss.
Creighton won its second Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title last weekend, playing as the No. 4 seed. The Bluejays topped two-time reigning tournament champion Northern Iowa in the quarterfinals, knocked off regular-season champion Missouri State in the semifinals and then beat Drake in the championship game to earn its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2002. The championship win gave Creighton 20 wins in a season for the seventh time in the last 11 years and put the Jays in the postseason for the ninth time in 11 years (7 WNIT, 2 NCAA).
Tenth-year head coach Jim Flanery again scheduled the toughest non-conference slate in the MVC, as CU owns a non-conference strength of schedule of 24 entering the tournament. The Jays went 4-7 against the RPI top-100 this season, including wins over North Carolina State and MAC regular-season champion Bowling Green.
Nine of Creighton’s 12 roster spots are filled by underclassmen and five of the top six scorers this year are underclassmen, led by the top two scoring sophomores in the MVC – Carli Tritz and Sarah Nelson. Tritz was named the MVC Tournament MVP after averaging 19.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game at the event. The first-team all-MVC guard leads the team in points (14.5), assists (3.7) and steals (2.0) per game this season.
Nelson was an honorable-mention all-MVC forward and earned MVC All-Tournament Team recognition. The foward is averaging 12.6 points and leads the team in rebounding (7.7 rpg), blocks (41), field goal percentage (.500) and double-doubles (10). Her 10 double-doubles are the most by a Bluejay since 1987-88.
Junior Ally Jensen (8.2 ppg) is ninth in single-season CU history with 65 three-pointers and 10th in school history with 144 career threes.
Head Coach Jim Flanery
Jim Flanery (Creighton, 1987) is in his 10th season as head coach at his alma mater, where he has led his team to eight postseason appearances (1 NCAA, 7 WNIT) and six 20-win seasons. He owns a career record of 190-128 (.597). Flanery’s winning percentage is tops in school history and he is just six wins shy of the CU career record. Flan’s 116 conference wins are tied for fifth in league history. The second-winningest coach in school history led the Bluejays to the 2004 WNIT Championship. Prior to serving as Creighton’s head coach, Flanery served as CU’s top assistant for a decade under current Nebraska head coach Connie Yori.
CU at the Tournament
• The Bluejays are making their fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first under head coach Jim Flanery.
• Creighton also appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 1992, 1994 (10 seed) and 2002 (12 seed).
• The Bluejays are 2-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, winning their first game in both the 1992 and 1994 postseasons.
• Creighton hosted and won its first ever NCAA Tournament game against Long Beach State exactly 20 years ago from this year’s game.
• Previous NCAA Tournament results below (with AP rankings), complete NCAA box scores on pages 12-13 of these notes.
1992 NCAA Tournament
March 18 Long Beach State (W, 79-66)
March 22 at Stephen F. Austin (L, 74-75)
1994 NCAA Tournament
March 16 at #24 Bowling Green (W, 84-73)
March 19 at #9 Texas Tech (L, 65-75)
2002 NCAA Tournament
March 15 vs. #23 Fla. International (L, 58-73)
at State College, Pa. (Penn State Host)
Scouting St. John’s
The 14th-ranked Red Storm are 22-9 on the season and tied for second in the Big East with a 13-3 recored ... This is St. John’s third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and seventh overall ... The Red Storm are 4-6 in the Big Dance, including 3-3 under 2012 Big East Coach of the Year Kim Barnes Arico ... St. John’s ended the regular-season on an eight-game winning streak, which included a win at No. 2 Connecticut to snap the Huskies’ 99-game home winning streak ... Shenneika Smith leads the team with 12.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game and was named first-team all-Big East ... Nadirah McKenith (12.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 4.7 apg) and Da'Shena Stevens (11.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg) earned second team honors and Amber Thompson (6.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg) was named to the All-Freshman squad ... St. John’s ranks 17th in the NCAA, committing just 14 turnovers per game, while they own a plus-3.7 turnover margin and grab 8.8 steals per game ... STJ ranks 332nd in the NCAA (of 336) with just 67 three-pointers made this season.
Creighton-St. John’s Series
Creighton beat St. John’s in the only previous meeting between the teams, 72-66 on Nov. 28, 1997 in Queens, N.Y. The game was part of the St. John’s Classic, which Creighton would win with a victory over Toledo as well. Head coach Jim Flanery was an assistant coach on that Creighton team.
MVC in the NCAA
Not only is Creighton making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2002, the Bluejays are hoping to earn the first NCAA Tournament win by a Valley team since 2002 when the Drake Bulldogs advanced to the Sweet 16 as an at-large selection. MVC teams are 24-39 (.381) all-time in the NCAA Tournament, with Missouri State (14-13) being the most successful Valley school. MSU has played in two Final Fours (as Southwest Missouri State) – 1992, 2001.
Flan in the Postseason
Head Coach Jim Flanery has reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in his head coaching career, but its not his first postseason, having taken the Bluejays to the WNIT in each of the past four seasons and seven of his first nine years. The Jays are 11-6 in the postseason WNIT under Flanery, including the WNIT Championship in 2004 and a WNIT Final Four appearance in 2003.
Men and Women are Dancing Together
Both Creighton basketball teams earned the MVC’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament this year by winning the MVC Tournament. Creighton is the first school in league history to win both tournaments in the same season twice, as the same occurred in 2002. The Bluejay men are a No. 8 seed, and opened play on Friday against No. 9 seed Alabama in Greensboro, N.C. Creighton is one of 25 schools in the NCAA to have both teams playing in this year’s NCAA Tournament and one of six schools not in the Big Six to send both (BYU, Creighton, Gonzaga, San Diego State, St. Bonaventure, South Dakota State).
Sisters Dancing Too
Bluejay sisters Ally Jensen and Sammy Jensen are heading to the Big Dance together this year, with junior Ally starting all 31 games she played this year and freshman Sammy playing in 29 of Creighton’s 32 games. Freshman Taylor Johnson is also joined in the Big Dance by her sister, Iowa’s Morgan Johnson. Taylor has played in 29 games as a freshman for CU this season, while Morgan started all 30 games as a junior at Iowa.
This year marks 20 years since Creighton’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 1992 and it also marks 10 years since its last trip to the Big Dance in 2002.
• Head coach Jim Flanery was an assistant coach an assistant coach on the previous two Creighton NCAA teams in 1994 and 2002.
• Assistant coach Jenny (Burns) Vickers was a junior starter on Creighton’s 2002 NCAA Tournament team. Burns played 29 minutes, had three points, six rebounds and three assists in Creighton’s last NCAA Tournament game, a loss to Florida International in 2002.
Flan Schedules the Big Boys (or Girls)
Creighton played five games against teams from the “Big Six” conferences this season, continuing a trend head coach Jim Flanery started when he took over in 2002-03. The Bluejays have played 66 games against BCS schools in that span, 26 more than the next closest MVC school – Drake (40). Flanery’s 19 wins against BCS schools in that span are nine more than the next closest MVC school in that span – Illinois State (10). In fact, Flan has more wins against BCS conference (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12, SEC) schools since he took over than Bradley has games played (17) against the Big Six.
MVC vs. BCS since 2002-03
School Games Wins
Creighton 66 19
Illinois State 32 10
Drake 40 9
Missouri State 32 7
Indiana State 20 6
Northern Iowa 37 4
Wichita State 21 4
Evansville 20 3
Bradley 17 3
Southern Illinois 22 0
MVC Tournament Summary
Playing as the fourth seed, Creighton won its second MVC Tournament title last weekend in St. Charles, Mo., defeating No. 7 seed Drake 53-38 in the title game. The Jays allowed only 43.7 points per game at the tournament. Sophomore Carli Tritz was named the Tournament MVP after averaging 19.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Sophomore Sarah Nelson joined Tritz on the all-tournament team, averaging 10.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.0 blocks per game.
Quarterfinals, March 9
Creighton 53, Northern Iowa 46
Senior DaNae Moore scored a career-high 15 points as Creighton knocked off the two-time defending tournament champions. Carli Tritz logged her first career double-double with 11 points and career-high 10 rebounds. CU shot just 32.2 percent from the field in the win, its lowest shooting percentage in a victory this year.
Semifinals, March 10
Creighton 56, Missouri State 47
Carli Tritz scored a career-high 29 points to help the Bluejays overcome a 12-point deficit to earn the upset win over No. 1 seed Missouri State, holding the highest scoring offense in the MVC to a season-low 47 points. Tritz scored 27 of her 29 points in the second half, outscoring the Lady Bears 27-24 by herself after halftime. Sarah Nelson led the Jays with 12 rebounds and a career-high six blocked shots.
Finals, March 11
Creighton 53, Drake 38
McKenzie Fujan’s scoring burst to start the second half helped the Jays gain momentum and secure their first title in four championship game tries under Jim Flanery. Fujan scored the first 11 points of the second half for Creighton and tied her career-high with 12 points, making a career-best three three-pointers in the win. Tritz scored 19 points in the championship game.
Missouri Valley Conference Honors
• Carli Tritz became the first Bluejay sophomore to be named first-team All-MVC since 2002 when she earned the honor last week. Tritz, the 2011 MVC Freshman of the Year and honorable mention selection, is the top-scoring sophomore in the league and the only underclassman honored on the league’s first two teams. She is one of only three players in school history to surpass 800 points and 200 assists in their first two seasons on campus.
• Sarah Nelson was the only other sophomore honored on the all-conference team, earning honorable mention notice. Nelson is the second-highest scoring sophomore in the league, trailing only Tritz. Her team-high 10 double-doubles are the most by a Bluejay since 1987-88.
Against the Top 25
St. John’s will be the second ranked team from the Big East the Bluejays play this season, after No. 3 Notre Dame defeated the Bluejays 76-48 in Omaha on Dec. 4. The Bluejays have lost their last seven games against AP top-25 teams since winning 75-71 at No. 24 Illinois State on Feb. 2, 2008. The Bluejays have not defeated a non-conference top-25 team since knocking off No. 14 Kansas 55-54 at home on Dec. 7, 1999. The Jays are 1-14 against ranked teams under Jim Flanery.
Beasts of the Big East
Creighton is in search of a win over a Big East foe for the second straight season, as the Bluejays beat Marquette 63-61 in Omaha on Nov. 28, 2010. Marquette was unranked at the time, but would break into the top-25 and reach the NCAA Tournament last year. The Bluejays are 1-5 against the Big East under Jim Flanery (1-2 vs Marquette, 0-1 vs. Rutgers, 0-2 vs. Notre Dame).
The Bluejays last played in Norman on Dec. 1, 2008 when they lost to the Sooners 69-49. Creighton senior DaNae Moore was in the starting lineup as a freshman that day, making her third career start in that game at Lloyd Noble Center. The Sooners returned the trip the next season and the two teams are scheduled to start a new home-and-home series next season, with Oklahoma coming to Omaha later this year.
Carli’s Rare Company
Sophomore Carli Tritz has joined exclusive company this season by becoming just the third player in school history to reach 800 points and 200 assists in her first two seasons on campus. She enters the NCAA Tournament with 801 points and 214 assists. The other two players with those numbers are in the Creighton athletic Hall of Fame – Connie Yori (1,158 points / 205 assists) and Becky Flynn (817 points / 235 assists).
March Happiness, Not Madness
Since 2001-02, the Bluejays have just two losing records in March – a 2-3 mark in 2007 and an 0-3 record in 2011. With his success in the MVC Tournament and WNIT, head coach Jim Flanery owns a career record of 36-22 (.621) in March games.
I’ll Take 3-Pointers for 200 Alex
Creighton enters the NCAA with 198 three-pointers made this season, just two shy of making 200 threes for the fifth straight season. The Jays have made at least 200 triples in six of Jim Flanery’s first nine seasons at the helm. Prior to Flanery’s tenure, the Jays had made 200 three-pointers in a season just twice in the 15 years since the shots’ introduction to the NCAA.
No Threes For You
Don’t look for St. John’s to make a lot of three-pointers against Creighton on Sunday. In addition to the Red Storm’s lack of reliance on the three-pointer (ranked 322nd of 326 with 2.2 threes per game), the Bluejay defense has been tough around the arc recently.
• Creighton’s three opponents at the MVC Tournament combined to make just 3-of-37 (.081) shots from three-point range, including an 0-for-14 game from Missouri State. In CU’s last eight games, opponents are making only 24.3 percent of their threes and averaging just 2.3 makes per game.
• Flip the tables and perhaps Creighton won’t be making many threes on Sunday either. St. John’s ranks 30th in the NCAA in three-point field goal percent defense, allow teams to shoot just 27.1 percent from beyond the arc.
Tritz 27, Missouri State 24
Carli Tritz notched a career-high 29 points against Missouri State in the MVC Tournament semifinals. In fact, the sophomore outscored the Lady Bears by herself in the second half, as she scored 27 points in the half, while the CU defense held MSU to 24 points. Tritz scored 17 consecutive Creighton points over a nine minute span in the game.
• The 29 points were the most scored by a Bluejay since Chevelle Herring scored 31 points against Kansas on Dec. 13, 2008.
• Tritz tied her career-high by making three three-pointers in the win.
• She tied her career-high with eight free throws made and set a career-high with 11 free throw attempts.
Nelson Blocks Six
Sarah Nelson swatted a career-high six shots in Creighton’s MVC semifinal win over Missouri State, the most blocked shots by a Bluejay since Megan Neuvirth had six against Colorado State on Dec. 21, 2008.
• The six blocks are tied for second most in a game in school history, just one shy of the record.
• Her six blocks made her the first Bluejay with at least five blocks in a game since older sister Kellie blocked five against Evansville on Feb. 13, 2010.
Sophomores Carli Tritz and Sarah Nelson set some school records for MVC Tournament play last weekend.
• Through four career games at the MVC Tournament, Tritz is now averaging 19.5 points per game, topping the former mark of 18.6 set by Christy Neneman (2001-04).
• Tritz made 20-of-26 free throws in the three games, setting a school tournament record for attempts and makes. She moved past Carrie Welle’s 18-of-24 performance in 1998.
• Nelson set a single-game school tournament record with six blocked shots and tied a record with 12 rebounds against Missouri State in the semifinals.
• Nelson’s nine blocks in the tournament tied Jenny Olson’s (1994) record.
Carli Tritz scored 27 of her career-high 29 points in the second half of Creighton’s MVC semifinal win over Missouri State. That’s nothing new for Tritz who has been excelling in the second half all year:
• On the season Tritz is averaging 9.1 points per game in the second half, compared to 5.3 points in the first half. Tritz is shooting 49.8 percent from the field after halftime and just 37.2 percent in the first half.
• Scored all of her team-leading 16 points in the second half of Creighton’s win over Illinois State (Feb. 17).
• Scored 17 of her 19 points against Indiana State on Jan. 20.
• Scored 19 of her then career-high 25 points in the second half against Bradley on Jan. 29.
• At Illinois State (Jan. 22), Tritz made 8-of-8 field goals in the final 8:30 to score 16 of her team-leading 18 points in the second half.
On Top of the Valley
Creighton has won more Missouri Valley Conference games over the past 10 seasons than any other team in the league. Since Jim Flanery took over in 2002-03, the Bluejays have posted 116 Valley wins. With 105 victories between 2002 and 2011, the Bluejays were the only Valley team to eclipse 100 conference wins in that nine-year span.
MVC Records Since 2002-03
School W-L Pct.
Creighton 116-64 .644
Illinois State 110-70 .611
Northern Iowa 108-72 .600
Indiana State 106-74 .589
Missouri State 105-75 .583
Drake 98-82 .544
Bradley 79-101 .439
Wichita State 66-114 .367
Evansville 66-114 .367
Southern Illinois 46-134 .256
Flan Makes Moves
Head coach Jim Flanery is one of seven coaches in league history with 100 wins in conference play. With Creighton’s win at Bradley (Feb. 26), Flan tied former Drake leader Lisa Bluder for fifth in league history with 116 conference wins. With two MVC wins in 2012-13 he will move past UNI’s Tony DiCecco into fourth place on the list.
Most MVC Coaching Wins (league games)
Name, School Wins Years
Cheryl Burnett, MSU 201 1988-02
Cindy Scott, SIU 199 1983-98
Jill Hutchison, ILS 170 1983-99
Tony DiCecco, UNI 117 1996-07
Jim Flanery, CU 116 2002-pr.
Lisa Bluder, DU 116 1991-00
Connie Yori, CU 109 1992-02
Creighton opened the season with a 72-54 win at North Dakota, earning head coach Jim Flanery his 171st career victory. That win moved him ahead of his predecessor Connie Yori (170) alone into second place on the CU career victories chart. He now trails only Bruce Rasmussen’s (currently Creighton’s athletic director) 196 wins for tops in school history.
Creighton Coaching Wins
Name Wins Seasons
Bruce Rasmussen 196 12
Jim Flanery 190 10
Connie Yori 170 10
Gaye Kinnett 33 3
Eddye McClure 26 3
Howard Faber 11 1
More from Moore
Senior DaNae Moore is enjoying a career year in her final season at Creighton. Moore has career-highs in points, field goals, field goal attempts, field goal percentage, rebounds assists, blocks and steals. In Creighton’s MVC quarterfinal win over Northern Iowa (March 9) Moore poured in a career-high 15 points to lead the Bluejays to a victory. In her first seven career MVC Tournament games, she had been 4-for-10 from the field with 16 points, before going 7-of-13 from the floor for 15 points in the UNI win.
Carli’s Criminal Ways
Carli Tritz leads the team and ranks sixth in the league with 61 steals this year. Of her 61 steals, 37 have come in her last 12 games, as she has grabbed at least two steals in 10 of those games and twice tied her career-high with six steals in that span. The sophomore also led the team in steals as a freshman and already has 128 steals in her career, well on her way to becoming just the eighth player in school history with 200 steals.
Jensen en Fuego
Junior Ally Jensen finished the regular-season by making 9-of-13 (.692) three-point attempts in her final two games, making all five of her attempts at Bradley (Feb. 26) and draining 4-of-8 at Drake (March 3). She enters the NCAA Tournament having made 13-of-28 (.464) three-pointers over her last five games.
Jensen Moving Up
By making 13 three-pointers in her last five games, Ally Jensen has moved from 15th to 10th place on the CU career three-point charts. Earlier this season she became the 16th player in school history to reach 100 career three-pointers.
Creighton overcame a 12-point deficit in its MVC Tournament semifinal win over Missouri State last weekend, marking the fourth time this year the Bluejays have overcome a double-digit deficit for a wn. It equalled the Jays’ 12-point second-half deficit overcome in their 64-62 win at Indiana State (Jan. 20), as Carli Tritz hit the game-winning basket with 2.0 seconds on the clock. The Bluejays also won games against Bowling Green (Dec. 18) and Wichita State (Feb. 2) after trailing by at least 10 points this year. The Jays have trailed in 18 of their 20 wins this season, and been behind by at least eight points in seven of their wins.
More Information on Comebacks
Creighton has 21 wins under Jim Flanery when it trailed by at least 10 points in the game. Its comeback from 12-down at Indiana State (Jan. 20) was CU’s largest comeback in two years, since overcoming an 18-point deficit against Northern Iowa on Jan. 24, 2010. Below are the top comebacks for CU since 2002-03.
Opponent, Deficit Final Date
vs. Indiana State, -19 69-65 3-9-07*
Northern Iowa, -18 62-58 1-24-10
Missouri State, -13 79-73 (ot) 1-6-08
at Evansville, -13 76-64 1-21-07
vs. Missouri State, -12 56-47 3-10-12*
at Indiana State, -12 64-62 1-20-12
at South Dakota St., -12 76-69 3-20-08^
Illinois State, -12 80-77 (ot) 2-29-08
at Indiana State, -12 68-60 1-31-08
Illinois State, -12 77-72 1-10-04
* - MVC Tournament; ^ - WNIT
Nelson & Tritz Score More Than Half
Carli Tritz and Sarah Nelson have each posted a game this season in which they have scored more than half of Creighton’s points. Tritz scored 29 of the Jays’ 56 points in the MVC semifinals against Missouri State (March 10). Nelson scored more than half of CU’s points in a 48-45 loss at Evansville (Feb. 9), with a career-high 23. Both players played a part in 13 of the 18 field goals for the Jays’ in those games. Prior to Nelson, the last Bluejay to score more than half of her team’s points was Sam Schuett. Schuett scored 22 of CU’s 42 points in a 42-41 win over Evansville on Feb. 13, 2010.
Sarah Nelson leads the team and ranks third in the MVC with 10 double-doubles this season. Her 10 double-dimes are the most by a Bluejay since Creighton Hall of Famer Pam Gradoville logged 14 double-doubles during the 1987-88 season.
Creighton’s bench has outscored the opposition’s bench 527-402 this year, including 80-18 in the final four games of the regular-season. The reserves were key in wins at UNI (Feb. 24) and Bradley (Feb. 26). Against UNI, the Bluejay bench scored a season-high 34 points, making 6-of-9 three-pointers, including 3-of-4 from freshman Taylor Johnson for a team-best 13 points. The bench then poured in 18 points at Bradley to finish the weekend with a 52-10 advantage in bench points in the pair of wins.
Great Guard Play
In Creighton's final two road wins this season (at Northern Iowa and Bradley), its three starting guards combined for 66 points, 23 assists, 13 steals and just seven turnovers. The trio of McKenzie Fujan, Carli Tritz and Ally Jensen shot 54.2 percent (26-of-48) from the field in the wins. Fujan scored a career-high 12 points and tied her career-high with six assists against zero turnovers at UNI. Tritz had 15 points, a career-best three blocks and tied her career-highs with eight assists and six steals at Bradley. Jensen drained all five of her three-point attempts at Bradley.
Sophomore Sarah Nelson was named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team. The forward owns a 3.65 cumulative grade point average, and follows in the footsteps of older sister Kellie, who was named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete Second-Team in both 2009-10 and 2010-11. Junior Ally Jensen, who owns a 3.63 GPA in nursing, was named an honorable mention all-MVC Scholar-Athlete.
The Ally Way is Perfect
Junior Ally Jensen equalled the most accurate three-point shooting game at Creighton since the 1991-92 season when she made all five of her three-point attempts at Bradley (Feb. 26). She tied Ally Thrall (Dec. 18, 2007 vs. Kansas State) and Kathy Halligan (vs. BYU, Feb. 20, 1992), who also went 5-for-5 from long range.
Numbers of the 5-Game Winning Streak
Creighton put together its longest winning streak of the year, a five-game streak from Feb. 11-26, putting up impressive numbers in that span. Only one Bluejay shot below 40 percent from the field during the streak. Carli Tritz (15.2) and Sarah Nelson (15.0) combined to average more than 30 points per game during the streak, while Tritz had 5.8 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game in that span – far above her season averages.
Creighton had all 11 players scored in a game just once through its first 25 games of the season – doing so in a blowout loss to No. 3 Notre Dame on Dec. 4. The Jays then put all 11 players in the scoring column in two straight games against Indiana State (Feb. 19) and at UNI (Feb. 24). In fact, the UNI game was the first time this season all 11 Bluejays made a field goal, as each player played at least nine minutes and scored at least three points.
Creighton shot a season-high 59.6 percent from the field at UNI (Feb. 24) for their best shooting game on the road since Feb. 8, 1996 when they shot 63.2 percent in Peoria. CU also dished a season-high 21 assists in the win at UNI. Creighton shot a season-high 53.8 percent from three-point range against Illinois State (Feb. 17), making 7-of-13 shots in the win. The Bluejays also blocked a season-high nine shots, with Sarah Nelson blocking four in the win at ISU.
Not Half Bad
Creighton has improved to 29-1 all-time under head coach Jim Flanery when shooting at least 50 percent from the field this season as the Bluejays shot a season-high 59.6 percent at UNI (Feb. 24) and also made 52.8 percent of their shots at SIU (Feb. 11).
Better Balance in Wins
• Carli Tritz and Sarah Nelson average 41.5 percent of CU’s points in wins, but score 48.9 percent of the team’s points in losses.
• Creighton’s third-leading scorer, Ally Jensen, averages 9.7 points per game in wins, but drops to just 5.8 in losses.
• In wins, four Bluejays are averaging at least 3.9 rebounds per game, helping the Jays to a plus-4.2 rebounding advantage.
• In losses, only Nelson (6.8) averages better than 4.0 rebounds per game, as CU has a minus-5.5 rebounding margin in defeats.
Sarah Nelson scored career-highs in back-to-back games on Feb. 9 and 11, scoring 23 at Evansville before topping that with 25 points at Southern Illinois. It's the second time this season the sophomore has scored 20 points in consecutive games, becoming the first Bluejay since Angie Janis to score 20 in back-to-back games more than once in a season. She's the first Bluejay since Megan Neuvirth in 2009-10 to score 20 in consecutive games and the first Jay since Chevelle Herring in 2008-09 to score more than 23 in consecutive games. Her 25 points equal Carli Tritz for team-high honors on the season and the most points scored by a Bluejay over the previous three seasons.
Cleaning the Glass
Creighton crushed Wichita State on the glass on Feb. 2, outrebounding the Shockers by 25 (47-22). The plus-25 margin was the largest rebounding margin recorded by a Jim Flanery coached team and was Creighton’s largest rebounding margin since outrebounding Indiana State by 26 on Feb. 11, 2001.
Sophomore Carli Tritz scored in double figures in 11 straight games (Dec. 8 - Jan. 22), the longest streak of her career and longest by a Bluejay since Sam Schuett had 15 straight games of at least 10 points during the 2009-10 season. Tritz is one of five players during the Jim Flanery era to put together 10 straight games of double-digit scoring, joining Laura Spanheimer, Angie Janis, Kristi Woodard and Schuett. She's the first sophomore to record such a streak under Flanery and the first to do so since MVC Player of the Year Christy Neneman did so in 2001-02.
10-Game Streaks of 10+ Points
Under Jim Flanery (since 2002-03)
Player, Yr. Streak Season
Angie Janis, Jr. 20 2004-05
Sam Schuett, Jr. 15 2009-10
Kristi Woodard, Jr. 15 2004-05
Angie Janis, Sr. 13 2005-06
Carli Tritz, So. 11 2011-12
Laura Spanheimer, Sr. 10 2004-05
Nelson in Elite Company
Sophomore Sarah Nelson leads the team with 10 double-doubles this season. Against SIU on Jan. 14, she posted 11 rebounds, 10 points and a career-high five assists. With those five helpers, she joined Megan Neuvirth, Laura Spanheimer and Christy Neneman as the only Bluejays since 2002-03 to log at least 10 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a game.
10+ Points, 10+ Rebounds, 5+ Assists
Under Jim Flanery (since 2002-03)
Player P-R-A Date, Opp.
C. Neneman 12-12-5 11-24-02, UMKC
L. Spanheimer 12-10-11 1-8-04, Ind. St.
L. Spanheimer 12-10-5 1-10-04, Ill. St.
L. Spanheimer 20-10-7 11-19-04, NW
L. Spanheimer 14-10-6 2-23-05, Bradley
M. Neuvirth 17-16-6 11-25-08, SLU
M. Neuvirth 18-14-5 12-21-08, Colo. St.
M. Neuvirth 10-12-6 1-16-10, SIU
S. Nelson 10-11-5 1-14-12, SIU
Trail to Win
The Bluejays have trailed in 18 of their 20 wins this year. A quick glance at some of CU’s deficits overcome for wins this year:
• Nov. 11 at UND, CU trailed by 6 just 90 seconds into the game, but led 34-28 at halftime and won 72-54.
• Nov. 13 at NDSU, CU trailed by 8 six minutes into the game, but led 28-24 at halftime and won 71-51.
• Dec. 18 vs. BGSU, CU trailed by 10 with 9:15 left in the first half, but led 26-25 at halftime and won 49-47.
• Dec. 20 at UTSA, CU trailed by 6, six minutes into the game, but led 23-18 at halftime and won 54-53.
• Jan. 14 vs. SIU, CU trailed by 8, five minutes into the game, but led 30-26 at halftime and won 66-59.
• Jan. 20 at Indiana State, CU trailed 36-27 at halftime and was down 57-45 with seven minutes remaining before using a 17-3 run, including 12 unanswered points, and the game-winning bucket with 2.0 seconds left to win 64-62.
• Feb. 2 vs. Wichita State, WSU went on a 14-0 run to take a 16-6 lead seven minutes into the game before the Jays bounced back to lead 30-29 at halftime and win 61-59.
• Feb. 17 vs. Illinois State, ISU led by nine in the first half and was up 29-23 at halftime before the Jays started the second-half on an 8-0 run and would win 68-59.
• Feb. 24 at UNI, the Panthers scored the first seven points of the game, but CU scored the last 10 points of the first half to lead 27-19 at the break en route to a 74-48 win.
• Feb. 26 at Bradley, BU led 16-11 midway through the first half, but the Jays scored 13 straight, led by four at the break and won 68-59.
• March 10 vs. Missouri State, the Lady Bears jumped out to a 16-4 lead and were ahead 23-20 at halftime, but a dominating second half performance from Carli Tritz led the Jays to a 56-47 win. Tritz outscored MSU 27-24 in the second half.
Home is Where the Wins Are
Creighton is 22-5 (.815) all-time in MVC games played at D.J. Sokol Arena and the Bluejays are 33-9 (.786) overall in the third season at their new home. The Bluejays are 105-34 (.755) at home under Jim Flanery, including 71-19 (.789) in MVC play at home under Flanery.
Creighton is 33-9 all-time their new home. In those 42 games, the Jays have allowed less than 60 points points 30 times and under 50 points 11 times. Bluejay opponents are averaging just 55.6 points per game in the 42 games played inside D.J. Sokol Arena.
Bluejays Win Big
Creighton cruised to a 65-33 win over Evansville on Jan. 12. Here are some numbers to highlight the win.
• The 33 points were the fewest scored by a Bluejay opponent since Nebraska Wesleyan scored 31 on Nov. 28, 1978.
• The 32-margin of victory was Creighton’s largest of the season and the fifth time under Jim Flanery the Bluejays have won by at least 30 points. CU has twice defeated Wichita State by at least 30 points and owns large non-conference wins over North Dakota (+39) and Memphis (+33) under Flanery.
• The 32-margin of victory was the third-largest winning margin in MVC play under Flanery.
• The win marked the third straight season the Bluejays have beaten the Purple Aces by at least 26 points.
Largest MVC Winning Margins
Under Jim Flanery (since 2002-03)
Opponent Date Score Margin
Wichita State 1-7-10 89-48 41
Wichita State 1-4-08 83-47 36
Evansville 1-12-12 65-33 32
Missouri State 1-8-09 92-63 29
Illinois State 2-19-11 71-44 27
UNI 2-24-12 74-48 26
Evansville 1-6-11 81-55 26
Evansville 1-14-10 63-37 26
Bluejays Hit the Boards
Creighton snagged 50 rebounds in its win over SIU (Jan. 14). Sarah Nelson led the team with 11 boards, while three Jays tied or set a career-high for rebounds. McKenzie Fujan doubled her previous rebounding high, grabbing eight in the win. Alexis Akin-Otiko tied her career-best with seven boards. Sammy Jensen entered the game with three rebounds in 82 minutes played on the season before the 5-foot-5 freshman snagged a career-best five rebounds in 11 minutes against the Salukis.
Garrison Picks Spots, Hits Shots
Sophomore Jordan Garrison scored a career-high 11 points against Evansville (Jan. 12), making 4-of-5 shots from the field. She tied her career-high by making three three-pointers, finishing 3-for-4 from long range.
Alexis in Stitches
Alexis Akin-Otiko had an unfortunate ending to her best game in MVC play at Missouri State on Jan. 5. The freshman scored 10 points, making all five of her field goal attempts in Creighton's game at MSU, scoring in double figures for the second time this season. The rookie left the game with 2:47 remaining after colliding head-on with Lady Bear star Casey Garrison. Akin-Otiko needed four stitches to repair a cut under her right eye, while Garrison suffered a broken nose in the collision.
Jim Flanery coached in his 300th game as Creighton's head coach at Wichita State on Jan. 8. He joins Bruce Rasmussen as the only other coach in program history to reach 300 games as CU's leader. Rasmussen coached in 343 games in 12 seasons at Creighton, while Flan is now in his 10th season. Rasmussen, now Creighton’s athletic director, was 160-140 (.533) after 300 games, while Flanery went 176-124 (.587) in his first 300 games at CU.
Best Non-Conference SOS in MVC
As it annually does, Creighton again played the strongest non-conference schedule in the MVC. Creighton’s non-conference strength of schedule is 24 according to the NCAA. The average strength of schedule for the nine other MVC teams was 174 – or 150 spots lower than Creighton’s.
No Bad Non-Conference Losses
One reason for Creighton’s high non-conference RPI and strength of schedule is the fact that the five teams Creighton lost to this year were a combined 52-4 before starting conference play. Colorado (11-0), Notre Dame (12-1), Nebraska (11-1), Kansas (11-1) and South Dakota (7-1) had impressive non-conference marks.
Tritz Named All-Tournament
Carli Tritz was named to the UTSA Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team following her play at the event in San Antonio Dec. 20-21. Tritz scored 14 points against UTSA and followed with a game-high 18 points and five assists against Colorado to average 16 points per game at the tournament.
Concussions are Contagious?
Well no, but two Bluejay freshmen missed time with concussions in December. Taylor Johnson missed three games (Dec. 18-21) with concussions symptoms, due to a concussions suffered in practice the week before playing Bowling Green on Dec. 18. Sammy Jensen then suffered a concussion while taking a charge in Creighton’s game at UTSA (Dec. 20). Both freshmen returned to action in Creighton’s MVC opener.
Bluejays Lose Riley Again
For the second straight season Riley Norman will not appear in a regular-season game for the Bluejays. The Des Moines native suffered a torn ACL during preseason practices prior to her freshman year in 2010-11 and missed the year. The forward underwent surgery for a separate knee injury on Dec. 22 and will miss all of the 2011-12 season because of the injury.
Freshman Makes History
Taylor Johnson became the first freshman in school history to make at least four three-point field goals in consecutive games earlier this year when she drained four against both NC State (Nov. 27) and at Wyoming (Dec. 1). The rookie then found her shooting touch, going 11-of-27 (.407) from long range after starting her career 1-of-14 (.071) from beyond the arc. She was the first Bluejay to make at least four threes in consecutive games since Kelsey Woodard did so in the final two games of the 2008-09 season.
3-Point Streak Snapped
Creighton had made at least five three-pointers in its first 11 games this year before it made a season-low three and shot a season-low 15.8 percent (3-19) from long range against Drake on Dec. 31. The 11-straight games with five threes was CU’s longest streak since making five threes in 12 straight games between Jan. 8 – Feb. 20, 2004. The Bluejays ended last season having made at least five three-pointers in their final eight games as the Jays set a school-record with 19 consecutive games with at least five threes.
Creighton went 4-2 on the road in non-conference action this season after posting a combined 2-8 record in non-conference road games over its previous two seasons. Creighton captured its first winning record on the road in non-conference play since Jim Flanery’s first season in 2002-03 when the Bluejays went 6-2 in non-conference road games (3-2 in the regular-season and 3-0 in the WNIT). The Jays were 2-2 in non-conference road games in 2004-05 and 4-4 on the non-con road in 2003-04.
Tritz Reaches 400 Points Rapidly
With 13 points against South Dakota (Nov. 22), sophomore Carli Tritz eclipsed 400 career points in just her 35th career game. She became the fastest Bluejay to reach 400 points since Becky Flynn scored her 400th career point in her first game as a sophomore in 1993. Flynn reached 400 points in her 29th career game. If you’re curious about other recent Bluejays to quickly reach 400 – Christy Neneman (37), Kelsey Woodard (38) and Laura Spanheimer (39) – were all edged out by Tritz.
Nelson: 2-Time MVC Player of the Week
Whatever the opposite of a sophomore slump is, Sarah Nelson is doing it. The sophomore was named the MVC Player of the Week twice in the first three weeks of the season, earning the honor on Nov. 28 following a week in which she averaged 16.5 points and 13.5 rebounds and set career-highs for rebounds and points in a game. Nelson turned in a career-high 17 rebounds against South Dakota (Nov. 22) and followed with a career-high 22 points against NC State (Nov. 27). She made 9-of-10 shots against the Wolfpack and to finish the week 14-of-20 (.700) from the field.
• Nelson also earned MVC Player of the Week honors after the opening week of the season when she averaged 14.5 points per game and made 12-of-16 shots (.750) from the field in road wins at North Dakota and North Dakota State.
• Nelson is the first Bluejay to be named MVC Player of the Week twice in one season since Megan Neuvirth in 2008-09.
• Nelson is the first Bluejay to be named MVC Player of the Week twice in the same month since Christy Neneman in February 2002.
• Nelson scored in double figures in her first six games this year after never scoring 10+ in consecutive games at all as a freshman.
Nelson Grabs 17 Rebounds
Sarah Nelson had the best rebounding game by a Bluejay since 2003 on Nov. 22 when she pulled down 17 rebounds against South Dakota. The 17 boards were not only a career-high, but they were also a D.J. Sokol Arena record. The 17 caroms were the most by a Bluejay since two-time MVC Player of the Year Christy Neneman snagged 17 rebounds against Indiana State on Feb. 27, 2003. The 17 rebounds are tied for the 10th-most in a single game in school history.
3s by the Dozen
Creighton made a season-high 12 three-pointer in its 74-67 win over NC State (Nov. 27). The game marked the 20th time under Jim Flanery the Bluejays have made at least 12 triples in one game, moving Creighton’s record to 16-4 (.800) under Flan when making at least 12 threes. The Jays are now 35-11 (.761) under Flan when making 10 or more three-pointers in a game.
Career Highs All Around
The Bluejays had four players score career-high point totals in their 74-67 win over NC State (Nov. 27), led by Sarah Nelson’s 22 points. Taylor Johnson entered the NC State game with 13 points scored in her first four collegiate games before snapping out of her shooting funk by hitting 4-of-10 three-pointers and finishing with 15 points. Junior Jasmin Corbin scored a career-high nine points, making a career-best 6-of-6 free throws, and sophomore Jordan Garrison finished with a then career-high nine points by making 3-of-5 three-pointers in her first career start. Junior Ally Jensen dished a career-high seven assists – three more than her previous career-best – while she also equalled her career-high with six rebounds against the Wolfpack.
Bluejays Blowout Bison
Creighton blasted North Dakota State 71-51 on Nov. 13, the Bluejays’ first 20-point non-conference road win since a 78-56 win at Colorado State on Nov. 24, 2007. It marked just the third non-conference road win of at least 20 points under head coach Jim Flanery, with the first coming on Dec. 20, 2002 – 80-57 at UC Irvine.
Not So Rocky Road
The Bluejays won their first two road games of the season for the first time since 1995. Creighton opened the season with consecutive road wins in its first two games for the first time in school history. Prior to its 72-54 win at North Dakota to open the year, Creighton had not won its first road game of the season since 1999 and had not won a season-opener on the road since 1998.
Creighton’s Sister Act Continues
One of the three freshmen on this year’s team is Sammy Jensen, the younger sister of junior Ally Jensen, continuing the recent trend of sisters playing for the Bluejays. Last year, Kellie and Sarah Nelson played alongside each other. Before the Nelson’s played together, the last recorded sister duo to play on the same Bluejay basketball squad was Peggy and Patty Bierle during the 1978-79 season. Kelsey Woodard (2007-11) followed older sister Kristi (2002-06) and Laura Spanheimer (2001-05) followed in the steps of her older sister Krissie (1997-01) to solidify this basketball program as true family environment.
Five of Creighton’s 12 players on this year’s roster are from Nebraska – Omaha products Jasmin Corbin (Millard West) and Sarah Nelson (Westside), Seward High graduate Alyssa Kamphaus, Wahoo Bishop Neumann product McKenzie Fujan and Alexis Akin-Otiko out of Bellevue West.
The Bellevue Bloodline
Freshman Alexis Akin-Otiko continues a trend at Creighton which began in 2002-03. Akin-Otiko attended Bellevue West, following in the footsteps of former Bluejays and fellow Bellevue West Thunderbirds Kristi and Kelsey Woodard. Kristi played for the Jays from 2002-06 and Kelsey played from 2007-11, meaning one T-Bird has been on the roster every year since 2002-03 – with the exception of 2006-07. CU has had at least one player from Bellevue on the roster every season for the last decade, as Chevelle Herring, a Bellevue East product, played from 2005-10.
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