OMAHA, Neb. - Building on their 8-3 non-conference record, the Creighton women's basketball team opens Missouri Valley Conference play this weekend at Southern Illinois (Jan. 3) and Evansville (Jan. 5).
1/3: Creighton (8-3, 0-0) at Southern Illinois (3-8, 0-0)
1/5: Creighton (8-3, 0-0) at Evansville (2-9, 0-0) Radio (1/3 Only): KZOT AM 1180 (www.1620thezone.com)
Brad Burwell (Play-by-Play) & Glen Sisk (Color Analyst)
TV/Video & Live Stats: www.gocreighton.com Twitter: www.twitter.com/gocreighton
MVC Opening Information
• Creighton is starting its 21st season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference, joining the MVC in 1993. The Jays are 13-7 in Valley openers and equally 13-7 in Valley road openers.
• The Jays open the MVC season on the road for the first time since 2009-10.
• Creighton opens the MVC season on the road for the first time since 2009-10.
• The Jays are 7-3 in their first MVC game of the year and 5-5 in road openers under Jim Flanery
Creighton vs. Southern Illinois:
The Bluejays lead the all-time series with the Salukis, 30-15. Creighton has won the last nine meetings, the nin-game winning streak in the series with SIU is its longest active streak against any opponent.
Creighton vs. Evansville:
Creighton holds a 29-11 series edge on Evansville, but the two teams split their series in 2011-12. Evansville defeated Creighton 48-45 in Evansville, Ind., last season on Feb. 9.
Scouting the Salukis (3-8, 0-0 MVC)
After starting the season 1-8, Southern Illinois has earned victories in its last two contests. The Salukis are led by sophomore Cartaesha Macklin, who is averaging 14.6 points and just under four assists per game. Macklin is a slasher that has gotten to the foul line 67 times this season, but also is Southern Illinois’ most prolific weapon beyond the arc at 34.1%. In the post the Salukis have welcomed the emergence of freshman Azia Washington, who was named the MVC Newcomer of the Week on Dec. 31. Washington posted career-highs of 17 points and 17 rebounds in the win over Chicago State on Dec. 29. On the season, Washington is averaging 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds.
Scouting the Aces (2-9, 0-0 MVC)
Like Southern Illinois, Evansville struggled during the non-conference season as the Aces finished with a 2-9 record. Evansville won two of its first three games, but has dropped eight straight. The Aces will open MVC play against Drake on Thursday, Jan. 3. The Aces, however, have been bolstered over the past two games by the play of sophomore Mallory Ladd. A transfer from Valparaiso, Ladd played her first two games for Evansville on Dec. 20 & 21 in the Toledo Invite. Ladd averaged 10.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in the two games, earning a spot on the Toledo Invite All-Tournament Team. Ladd’s emergence provides a formidable post presence for the Aces as senior Samantha Heck leads the team with 14.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Heck is much more than a typical post threat, shooting 42.1% from beyond the arc and is deadly from the free throw line (28-of-29 this season).
Jays’ NCAA Rankings
Creighton currently ranks as the second most prolific three-point shooting team in the NCAA, averaging 9.8 treys per contest. The Jays trail only Missouri, who is knocking down 9.8 per contest. Creighton’s 3-point percentage is also among the best at 14th (37.2%). The Bluejays continue to be in the top 30 in assists per game, ranking 26th with 16.6 assists per game.
Janning and Nelson Among the Best Individually
Freshman Marissa Janning and junior Sarah Nelson are among the best individually in the nation as well. Janning ranks fourth in the NCAA in three-point percentage, shooting at a 51.1 clip. Nelson, meanwhile is 46th in assist-to-turnover ration at 1.95.
Jays Lead MVC in RPI by WarrenNolan.com
Creighton sits atop the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) at #17. As a conference the MVC ranks ninth, featuring three teams in the top 100, Creighton (21), Missouri State (70) and Illinois State (74).
Jays Strength of Schedule Tops in MVC
Head coach Jim Flanery has a long history of providing a challenging schedule for his squad in non-conference. The 2012-13 season proved no different as five of the Jays’ first six opponents appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2012. Creighton posted a 3-2 record against those schools (Oklahoma, South Dakota State, Kansas, BYU and Nebraska). The Bluejays currently have the 17th strongest schedule in the country (according to WarrenNolan.com). The Jays’ opponents have a combined record of 83-41 this season.
Bench Rotations Provides a Spark
Over the past two seasons, Creighton has had the luxury of a deep bench. Typically each player suited has an opportunity to contribute. The result has been bountiful this season as the Jays’ bench has delivered 248 points this season, 114 more than their opponents.
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