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BlueJays WBB Open MVC Home Play with Illinois State

OMAHA, Neb. - The Bluejays WBB squad looks to defend their home court as Creighton hosts Illinois State in the MIssouri Valley Conference home opener with Illinois State on Jan. 11 at 7 p.m.

1/11: Illinois State (10-4, 2-0) at Creighton (10-3, 2-0)
 KZOT AM 1180 (
Brad Burwell (Play-by-Play) & Rob Simms (Color Analyst)

TV/Video & Live Stats:

MVC Home Opening Information
• In its 21st season as a member of the MVC, the Jays are 15-5 in Valley home openers, including an 8-2 mark under current head coach Jim Flanery.
• The Jays two losses under Flanery in the home Valley debut came on Jan. 4, 2007, a 56-53 to UNI and on Dec 31, 2011 to Drake, 47-44.

Creighton vs. Illinois State:

The Bluejays lead the all-time series with the Redbirds, 29-16.  Creighton has won 19 of the last 21 meetings in Omaha, including the last five.

Last 10 Meetings with Illinois State:
2/29/08    W    80-77 (ot) in Omaha
3/15/08    L    60-68 in St. Charles $
1/1/09    L    43-63 in Normal
3/7/09    W    65-62 (ot) in Omaha
1/2/10    W    69-44 in Normal
3/2/10    W    60-57 in Omaha
1/20/11    L    57-70 in Normal
2/19/11    W    71-44 in Omaha
1/22/12    L    66-79 in Normal
2/17/12    W    68-59 in Omaha
$ - MVC Tournament game

Last Time vs. Illinois State W, 68-59 @ Creighton
Sarah Nelson and Carli Tritz led a strong second half as the Jays overcame a six-point halftime deficit to knock off league-leading Illinois State, 68-59.  Tritz scored all 16 of her team-leading points in the second half, while Nelson delivered 12 of her 15 points in the second half.

The Bluejays set a season-high with nine blocked shots, led by Nelson’s career-high four swats.  She finished with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for her team-leading ninth double-double.

About Illinois State
•  Located in Normal, Ill., Illinois State has an enrollment of 20,502.
•  The Redbirds finished 2011-12 with a 19-13 record and a 13-5 mark in the Valley.  ISU returns 10 letterwinners from last season, including pre-season All-MVC selection Jamie Russell. 
•  Illinois State was picked to finish third in the MVC preseason poll.

Scouting the Redbirds (10-4, 2-0 MVC)
Illinois State opened the MVC season with victories over Northern Iowa (72-41) and Bradley 81-65) last weekend.  The Redbirds are in the midst of a four-game winning streak, ignited by a 69-68 win at Illinois on Dec. 21.  Leading the way for the Redbirds is sophomore transfer Janae Smith.  After spending her freshman season at College of Charleston, Smith is averaging 16.6 points and 9.5 rebounds per game this season.  She has already collected six MVC Newcomer of the Week award as she leads the Redbirds in points, rebounds and blocks (14). While Smith is patrolling the post, seniors Jamie Russell and Candace Sykes have provided a lethal punch from the guards.  Russell is living up to the hype that earned her a spot on the MVC  preseason team delivering a team best 40 assists and scoring 190 points (13.6 per game).  Sykes, meanwhile, is Illinois State’s spark off the bench.   Sykes is averaging 14.2 ppg and 6.3 rpg, she is also the Redbirds most prolific long distance threat at 38.4% (33-of-86).

Flanery Reaches 200th Victory
Jays head coach Jim Flanery added another milestone victory to his resume, collecting his 200th win at Evansville on Jan. 3 (70-63).  Flanery became the all-time wins leader for Creighton earlier this season.
Jays Staying in National Spotlight’s Graham Hays featured Creighton and freshman Marissa Janning in his latest blog.  Hays  places the Bluejays third in the mid-major poll and likened Janning to former Illinois State star Kristi Cirone, a three-time winner of the Jackie Stiles Award as the MVC’s top player. “Like Cirone, Janning is a point guard who can shoot, get to the basket and stay with anyone on defense. She is not a scorer asked to play point guard.”

NCAA Rankings
Creighton currently ranks as the second most prolific three-point shooting team in the NCAA, averaging 9.5 treys per contest.  The Jays trail only Missouri, who is knocking down 10.0 per contest.  Creighton’s 3-point percentage is also among the best at 13th (38.1%).  

Category                       Rank    Actual
3-Point FGs Per Gm             2    9.5
3-Point %                         13    38.1
Assists Per Gm                  23    16.8
Assist/Turnover Ratio        20    1.1

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 10th in the NCAA in three-point percentage, shooting at a 46.8 clip.  Nelson, meanwhile is 43rd in assist-to-turnover ration at 1.96. 

RPI Comparison
The NCAA RPI rankings were released on Monday, Jan. 7.  Creighton sits atop the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) at #24.  Below is a comparison of the three most widely used RPI rankings used (NCAA, and 

School                 NCAA    WN    RTRPI
Creighton                 24    24    21
Illinois State             71    67    72
Missouri State           81    79    87
Northern Iowa         100    100    101
Wichita State          124    124    123
Indiana State          135    136    150
Bradley                   140    143    118
Evansville                253    254    255
Southern Illinois       292    295    292
Drake                      295    297    293

As a conference the MVC ranks ninth by both and Real

Bluejays tie Program Mark for 3s, AGAIN
Over the past decade dialing long distance has become much more economical, just ask the Jays.  For the second time this season the Bluejays tied a program record with 16 three-pointers, hitting 16-of-37 in their 70-63 win at Evansville on Jan. 5.  Earlier this season, Creighton showed precise accuracy, hitting 16-of-29 three-pointers in their 91-74 win over South Florida on Dec. 22.  The 16 triples tied a program record for most three-pointers in on contest.  Creighton also nailed 16 trifectas in a 63-61 (ot) win at UC Davis on Nov. 27, 2009 and at home on Dec. 6, 1989 in a 115-63 win over Oral Roberts.

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