PLAYA del CARMEN, Mexico - Behind 21 points from junior Carli Tritz, the Creighton women's basketball team remained perfect away from home with a 66-57 win over Miami (Ohio) in the Caribbean Classic on Friday, Dec. 21.
The win lifted Creighton to 7-2 on the season, including 5-0 away from D.J. Sokol Arena, while Miami (Ohio) fell to 6-5 overall. The victory was historic for head coach Jim Flanery as his 197th win gave him the most victories of any coach in Creighton women's basketball history, passing current athletic director Bruce Rasmussen.
Both teams struggled out of the gate as the score was just 6-6 with just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half. That all changed when freshman Marissa Janning canned a three-ball from the right corner with 10:16 on the clock to kick off a 17-4 Bluejay run. After Janning's three the Jays forced a turnover, allowing junior Jordan Garrison to try the same spot in the right corner. Garrison also found the bottom of the net.
Creighton decided to repeat the trend by forcing another RedHawk turnover, then junior Carli Tritz found Janning open on the left wing for the third straight trifecta to give the Bluejays a 15-6 lead with 9:15 to go. After a Miami layup, Janning delivered another triple. Finally an interior bucket by sophomore Alexis Akin-Otiko and a three-ball from Ally Jensen pushed Creighton's lead to 23-10 at the 5:33 mark. The Jays led by as much as 15 at 28-13 and took a 28-15 advantage into the half.
Miami University's 15 first-half points were the fewest the Bluejays have allowed in a half since Dec. 31, 2011 when the Jays held Drake to 13 points in the opening frame. Creighton held the RedHawks to 5-of-26 (19%) from the field in the first half.
The game, however, was far from over as Miami (Ohio) hit -of its first 14 shots in the second period to pull even at 36-36 on an eight-footer by Hannah Robertson. The tie signified one thing, it was time for Tritz to take over. The Sioux City, Iowa native did just that as she torched the RedHawks for 12 of her game-high 21 points in the final 13 minutes to preserve the Creighton victory.
Tritz reclaimed the lead for the Jays with a driving layup to make it 38-36. Miami (Ohio) forced ties at 38-38 and 40-40, but Tritz's work opened the three-point bank once more. This time it was junior Sarah Nelson, followed by Janning and A. Jensen drilling shots as the Jays pushed back out to a 49-42 lead with 8:03 left.
Miami (Ohio) got within five points in the closing minutes on a long three-pointer from Kirsten Olowinski, but Tritz slammed the door with a slashing layup and two free throws in the waning moments.
The 21-point outburst by Tritz was her highest total since she dropped 29 on Missouri State in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on March 10, 2012. Janning finished with 16 points, while Nelson led the Jays with seven rebounds and seven assists.
Olowinksi led the RedHawks with 13 points, while Hannah Robertson tossed in 11 points.
The Jays return to the court on Saturday, Dec. 22 as Creighton faces South Florida at 2:30 p.m. in the final game of the Caribbean Classic.