Jays' WBB Looking To Take Down Purple Aces

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Courtesy: Eric Francis

OMAHA, Neb. - With victories in their final two home games, the Creighton women's basketball team will claim at least a share of the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title for the first time since 2002-03.  The first step is a matchup with Evansville on Thursday, March 7 at 7 p.m.

3/7: Evansville (8-19, 6-10) at Creighton (21-6, 13-3)
Radio: KZOT AM 1180 (www.1620thezone.com)
Brad Burwell (Play-by-Play) & Kellie Nelson (Color Analyst)
Live Stats: www.gocreighton.com
Twitter: @GoCreighton, @CreightonWBB

Live Stats Information:
All of Creighton’s games this season will have free live stats.  Visit www.gocreighton.com and click on the Live Stats tab near the top of the page on the left for the link to the exact URL.

Creighton vs. Evansville:
The Bluejays lead the all-time series with the Purple Aces, 30-11.  Creighton  has won eight of the last 10 and the last six in Omaha.  Overall the Bluejays are 14-4 against Evansville in Omaha.

Last Time vs. Evansville: W, 70-63 @ Evansville (1-5-13)
While basketball is typically a game of runs, this contest took that to the extreme.  Evansville opened the game on an 18-2 run in the first six minutes, only to have the Jays answer with a 16-2 run of their own to make it 20-18 with 8:56 remaining in the first half.  The Aces ended the half with the edge, taking a 39-34 lead in at the break. 

Creighton continued the trend to open the second half as the Jays took control of the game with an 21-2 run in the first nine minutes to build a 55-41 lead with 11:05 left in the game.  All 21 Bluejay points came from beyond the arc, led by nine from senior Ally Jensen. The Jays held Evansville to just 25.8% in the second half, including just 1-of-13 (07.7%) from downtown. As a team the Jays finished 16-of-37 (43.2%) from beyond the arc and 21-of-58 (36.2%) from the field.


About Evansville
• 
Located in Evansville, Ind., Evansville has an enrollment of 2,822.
•  The Purple Aces finished 2011-12 with a 5-25 record and a 2-16 mark in the Valley.  Evansville returned eight letterwinners from last season, including starters Samantha Heck and Meghan Collins.
•  The Purple Aces were picked to finish 10th in the MVC preseason poll.


Last 10 Meetings with Evansville:
1/7/09    W    50-47 in Evansville
2/12/09    W    68-57 in Omaha
3/15/09    L    45-47 in St. Charles $
1/14/10    W    63-37 in Evansville
2/13/10    W    42-41 in Omaha
1/6/11    W    81-55 in Evansville
2/5/11    W    60-50 in Omaha
1/12/12    W    65-33 in Omaha
2/9/12    L    45-48 in Evansville
1/5/13    W    70-63 in Evansville
$ MVC Tournament

Scouting the Purple Aces (9-17, 4-11 MVC)
The Purple Aces 2012-13 season can be  broken down into three section.  Evansville struggled though their non-conference schedule with a 2-9 mark.  The Purple Aces, however, showed new life by opening MVC play with five victories in their first six games. Unfortunately a season-ending injury to point guard Kristian Hart has sent the Purple Aces in a tail spin, dropping nine of their last 10. 

Evansville has good size in the post led by center Samantha Heck and newcomer Mallory Ladd.  The duo average a combined 24.5 points and 16.1 rebounds per game.  The two post players are also extraordinary free throw shooters, Heck (90.5%) and Ladd (94.7%).

Keys to the Game w/Evansville:

  • Keeping Evansville off the foul line: As a team the Purple Aces are 341-of 454 this season from the charity stripe.  Expect Evansville to pound the ball in the paint to Heck and Ladd early.
  • Three-Point Shooting: After getting out to an 18-2 lead, Evansville dared the Bluejays to shoot from outside.  Creighton responded by draining a program record 16 from beyond the arc.
  • Offensive Execution: Without a true point guard, Evansville has struggled to execute their offense.  The Purple Aces have committed 508 turnovers this season.  Evansville has just 316 assists.  The Jays meanwhile has 446 assists and have committed 401 turnovers.

Flanery against the Purple Aces
Coach Flanery has faced Drake 22 times as a head coach, holding a 17-5 mark against Evansville. Flanery is 9-1 versus the Purple Aces in Omaha.

Raising the Bar
After setting the D.J. Sokol Arena record for points with 26 on Feb. 14, freshman Marissa Janning took the record up a notch by scoring 29 points to lead Creighton to a 67-66 win over Drake on March 3. Janning also set another mark with 11 field goals, besting the mark of 10 held by junior Carli Tritz on Jan. 29, 2012 against Bradley.  Marissa scored 23 of her 29 points in the second half to lead Creighton back from a nine-point deficit. Janning was 11-of-16 from the field, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Marissa scored 11 of the Jays final 13 points over the final six minutes.

Fujan Becoming Automatic at the Line

Junior McKenzie Fujan is in the midst of a streak of 22 consecutive made free throws.  McKenzie is 58-of-68 (.853) on the season, but she has not missed since going 0-for-1 at Drake on Feb. 2.  During that time she went 6-for-6 against Missouri State on Feb. 14 and 7-of-7 at Northern Iowa on Feb. 21.  The last Bluejay to make at least 22 consecutive free throws was Sam Schuett (2006-11) when she set the Creighton record for consecutive free throws with 40 straight.
 
Chasing History
With two victories in Creighton’s final two games, head coach Jim Flanery has an opportunity to claim his first  MVC regular season Championship since 2002-03.  Two victories alone will guarantee the Jays a share of the MVC regular season title.  It would also put Flanery on pace to surpass his career-high for wins in a season (24 in 2002-03 & 2003-04).  The Creighton record for victories in one year (28) was set in 1991-92.

Helping Hands
With 99 and 96 assists respectively, juniors Carli Tritz and Sarah Nelson could become the first Bluejay duo to reach 100 assists in the same season since Becky Flynn and Tracy Landuyt did it for Creighton in 1993-94.  Flynn was also the last post (forward or center) to top 100 assists in a season, with 153 in 1993-94.

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