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Seniors Sarah Nelson and Alyssa Kamphaus are two of six Bluejays to be honored after the game.
Courtesy: Mark Kuhlmann

Women's Basketball Battles Butler on Senior Night

OMAHA, Neb. - Seniors McKenzie Fujan, Jordan Garrison, Alyssa Kamphaus, Riley Norman, Sarah Nelson and Carli Tritz will be honored following the final regular-season game against Butler on Tuesday, March 4 at 7 pm.

3/4: - 7:05 p.m. (CT)
Butler (14-14,9-8 BE)  at Creighton (18-11, 12-5 BE)

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Twitter: @GoCreighton, @CreightonWBB
Series History: Buter leads, 1-0

Last Time Out: L, 73-71 at Marquette, 3-1-14
Despite a combined 61 points from seniors McKenzie Fujan, Sarah Nelson and sophomore Marissa Janning, the Creighton women’s basketball team suffered a 73-71 loss to Marquette on Saturday, March 1.

Saturday’s contest was a back and forth affair that went down to the buzzer, featuring 11 ties and 12 lead changes.  In the first half Creighton built a four-point lead at 17-13 (9:45), behind 10 points from Fujan.  Marquette responded with a 10-2 run to take a 23-19 edge.  Marquette went on to push its lead to six at 29-23 (3:23).

Nelson rallied her troops with a running layup from Janning.  Creighton stopped the Golden Eagles, then Janning converted a traditional three-point play to make it 29-28 (1:51).  The Bluejays took the lead on the next possession and freshman Lauren Works sank two free throws to make it 32-29 with 57 seconds left in the half.  Marquette, however, delivered the final push with four straight points to take a 33-32 lead into halftime.

The Golden Eagles controlled the opening portion of half number two, pushing their lead to nine at 44-35 with 16:08 remaining in the game.  Once more Nelson rose to the challenge, nailing a three-pointer from the top of the key.   Nelson’s trey energized her teammates as junior Alexis Akin-Otiko knocked down a 12-footer, then Fujan dropped in a bucket from the elbow to make it 45-42 (14:10).

Marquette regrouped and held the Bluejays at bay until the closing moments.  Trailing 59-57 with 4:34 left, Fujan knotted the game with a running layup off glass.  Creighton forced a Marquette miss, then Janning knocked in a trifecta from the left corner.  

Katherine Plouffe answered for Marquette, but Nelson matched the effort with a long three-ball from the top of the key to give Creighton a 65-62 edge with 2:42 left.  After a defensive stop, Janning knocked in an eight-footer to give the Bluejays their largest lead of the game, 67-62 (2:00).

Marquette answered once more with a trey from Plouffe and a layup to tie the game at 67-67 with just over a minute remaining (1:11).  A layup from Janning gave Creighton the lead back, 69-67, but Arlesia Morse knocked down a trey from the left corner.  Down a point, Janning drove baseline and drew a foul with 23 seconds left.  The Minnesota native put in both free throws to make it 71-70. Morse delivered the final blow with another three-pointer in the left corner to give the game to Marquette.

Fujan led Creighton with 21 points, while Nelson and Janning each finished with 20 points. Plouffe led all scorers with 33 points for Marquette, while Morse finished with 14.

Butler vs. Creighton Series:
Butler claimed the first meeting between the two teams earlier this season, 58-52, on Jan. 18 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Butler leads 1-0
Home: 0-0  Away: 0-1  Neutral: 0-0
Date    Result    Score/Site
1/18/14    W    52-58 in Indianapolis

First Meeting: Butler 58, Creighton 52 (1-18-14)
Trailing 7-2 at the first media break (15:34), Creighton appeared to rally from a slow start with a five-point burst to tie the game at 7-7.  Senior McKenie Fujan pulled the Bluejays within a possession via a 10-foot jumper, after a defensive stop, junior Sammy Jensen knocked down an open three-ball to make it 7-7 with 14:56 on the clock.

Butler, however, answered with a 12-2 run to take control of the game at 19-9 at the 9:31 mark.  Creighton got no closer than seven the rest of the half, going into the locker room down 34-22.

After allowing Butler to shoot 52% in the opening period (13-of-25), Creighton amped up its defensive intensity in the second period.  Despite the improved defensive effort, the Bluejays still found themselves down 12 (46-34) with 7:03 remaining.  

Creighton found a rhythm as the game draw to its close, scoring nine straight to make it a one possession affair with 2:37 left. Sophomore Marissa Janning started the run with two free throw, then Fujan knocked in a pull-up jumper from eight feet to make it 46-38 (4:39).  Senior Alyssa Kamphaus chipped in a pair of free throw, then Fujan delivered a try from the wing, forcing a Butler timeout.

The Bulldogs responded to the break with six straight to salt the game away.

Fujan led Creighton with 16 points, while senior Sarah Nelson posted 11 points.

Butler got 16 points from Liz Stratman, 12 from Lexus Murray and 11 from Taylor Schippers.

About Butler

  • Located in Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Founded in 1844.
  • Butler has an enrollment of 4,500.
  • Known as the Bulldogs.
  • Butler finished 2012-13 with an
  • 17-14 record and a 8-6 mark in the Atlantic-10.  
  • Butler returns nine letterwinners from last season, including three starters (McDivitt, McClung and Schippers).
  • Saw its 2012-13 season advance to the WNIT Tournament, falling in the First Round to Toledo, 63-49.
  • The Bulldogs were picked to finish seventh in BIG EAST in the preseason poll.

Butler Head Coach:  Beth Couture (Erskine, 1984)

  • Couture has a career record of  450-289 in 25 seasons, including a 192-172 mark in 12 years at Butler.
  • Has led Butler to seven winning seasons over the last eight years.
  • Before coming to Butler, Couture spent 13 years as the head coach of Presbyterian (Division II).  During her tenure, Couture led Presbyterian to eight seasons of 20 wins or more.
  • She closed her time at Presbyterian with five consecutive 20+ win seasons.

Scouting Butler (14-14, 9-8 BIG EAST)
Butler battled through a six-game stretch without leading scorer Daress McClung in the middle of the season and appear to be hitting their stride.  
The Bulldogs have won three of their last four games, downing Georgetown, Xavier and Seton Hall in home games.  Butler enters Tuesday’s contest 4-4 on the road in the BIG EAST.  

McClung is a dynamic forward that missed the first game with Creighton at Butler due to an injury.  She leads the Bulldogs in scoring, 15.2 ppg, as well as rebounding (6.7 rpg).  

In the first meeting the Bulldogs relied on center Liz Stratman.  Standing 6-2, Stratman played much bigger than her height, finishing with 16 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.

Another key for Butler is the defensive play of Mandy McDivitt.  Assigned to slow down Janning, McDivitt was part of the reason Janning was 1-of-12 on Jan. 18.

Keys to the Game w/Butler:

  • Offensive Execution: Creighton shot just 27.9% from the field in the first meeting (19-of-68).  The Bluejays will undoubtable improve playing at home, but Creighton struggled with the Bulldogs defense.
  • Increase Post Presence: Butler outscored the Bluejays 24-18 in the paint in the first matchup, playing without McClung.  The Creighton quartet of post players must do a better job getting the ball inside as well as defending Stratman and McClung.
  • Create Additional Possessions:  Butler is prown to turnovers, committing 16 in the first matchup, and struggles on the glass.  At Butler the Bluejays took 68 shots to just 52 for the Bulldogs. A similar seperation of possessions will bode well for Creighton.

BIG EAST Seeding Scenarios
Entering the final game of the regular season only four of the ten seeds in the BIG EAST are set.  

    1.    DePaul
    6.    Buter
    7.    Seton Hall
    10.    Providence

  • Two Seed: Only St. John’s and Creighton have a chance to claim the two seed in the tournament.  Currently tied for second in the BIG EAST, St. John’s holds the tiebreaker over Creighton.  Thus if the Red Storm defeat Providence on Monday night they are the two seed. If St. John’s loses on Monday, Creighton claims the two seed with a win.
  • Three Seed:  This will either be Creighton, St. John’s or Marquette.  Marquette holds the tiebreaker over Creighton, but the Golden Eagles would need a Bluejay loss and a win over Villanova to have a chance.  
  • Four Seed/Five Seed: Creighton can fall no farther than four as the Bluejays hold the tie breaker on Villanova. With Marquette and Villanova playing on Tuesday night, the victor will likely claim the four seed.
  • Eight/Nine Seed: The eight and nine seeds are simple enough,  Xavier claims the eight seed with a win over Seton Hall and a Georgetown loss at DePaul.  Regarless, the Musketeers and Hoyas will meet in one of the Saturday play-in games at DePaul.

Double Take
With the seeding for the BIG EAST Tournament as clear as mud, if the second place teams hold serve in the final game two games played in the final game of the regular season will be repeated in the second round of the BIG EAST Tournament.  

With victories by St. John’s and Creighton, the Bluejays would claim the three seed.  The result would be a rematch with Butler in the #3/#6 game on Sunday, March 9.  Subsequently the Marquette/Villanova game would be played as the #4/#5 game as well.  

Fujan, Janning and Nelson are First Trio with 20+ since 2004
In Saturday’s 73-71 loss at Marquetts, McKenzie Fujan (21), Marissa Janning (20) and Sarah Nelson (20) became Creighton first trio to top 20 points in the same game since Angie Janis (22), Kristi Woodard (21) and Laura Spanheimer (20) did so against Southern Illinois on Dec. 31, 2004.  

Outside Looking In?
If the latest Bracketology by ESPN’s Charle Creme hold true, Creighton is just outside the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team.  Creme has the Bluejays as the second team out in the 3/3 Bracketology.

Taking Care of the Rock
Creighton committed a season-low four
turnovers in its 73-71 loss at Marquette on March 1.  It is the lowest total in a game under head coach Jim Flanery and the lowest by the Bluejays since at least the 1994-95 season.  The best performance by a team led by Flanery had  been six turnovers, three seperate times.  (3/4/10 vs. Illinois State, 12/2/10 at South Dakota and 1/15/14 vs. Xavier). The last time a Bluejay squad had less than six turnovers came on Nov. 27, 2001 against No. 5 Iowa State.  In a 75-74 overtime loss, Creighton committed just five turnovers.

You’re in Good Hands with the Bluejays
As a unit the 14 Bluejays have 1418 career assists, led by 342 from Sarah Nelson and 341 from Carli Tritz.  By contrast the Bluejay have committed just 1374 career turnovers, a 1.03 assist-to-turnover ratio.

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