Twitter: @GoCreighton, @CreightonWBB Series History: Series tied, 7-7
We’re Back Creighton, the 2004 postseason WNIT Champion, is appearing in the WNIT for the tenth time in school history, but the first time since 2011. The Jays have won their first game in the WNIT six times in their previous nine appearances and been one-and-done three times. Creighton is 5-1 in home WNIT contests, while the Bluejays are 6-6 in true road WNIT games, losing their last three WNIT games on the road.
Creighton’s Eighth Appearance Under Flanery Since Jim Flanery took the helm of the Creighton Bluejays during the 2002-03 season, Creighton has appeared in the WNIT tournament eight times. That mark is tied with Marquettte and South Florida (both of whom are in the 2014 WNIT) for the second most appearance since 2003. The only team with more appearances is Charlotte as the 49ers have been in the WNIT 10 times since 2003.
Scouting Missouri (17-13, 6-10 SEC) The Tigers opened the 2013-14 season red hot as Missouri won its first seven games and 12 of 14. The turning of the calendar to 2014, however, was less than kind to the Tigers. Missouri won its first game in 2014, but managed just two victories in its next 10 games. Not surpringly the downward spiral coincided with the beginning of SEC play.
Missouri’s offense is led by two dynamic players in Bri Kulas in the post and Morgan Eye on the outside. Eye is one of the better shooting guards in the country, hitting 107 treys in 247 attempts (43.3%), while Kulas averaged a team best 18.6 ppg and grabbed 202 rebounds (6.7 rpg).
The Tigers prefer an up tempo game, averageing over 70 points per game (70.3). Missouri is an active defense team (193 steals, 6.4 per game), but struggles to consistently take care of the basketball (495 turnovers, 16.5 per game).
Keys to the Game w/Missouri:
Hitting shots: It’s as simple as it sounds, Creighton is 14-2 when the Bluejays shoot over 40%. The Bluejays need to shoot the ball consistently to be successful.
Ball Security: Creighton remains one of the top 25 teams in the country in taking care of the ball. Missouri excels at scoring in transition. As a result the Bluejays have to take care of the ball offensively and take advantage of Missouri mistakes on defense.
Rebounding: Missouri enters Thursday’s game with a height advantage and much better numbers on the boards. Creighton, however, is a better rebounding team than its numbers have indicated.
Nelson Leaving it All on the Floor Senior Sarah Nelson has been impressive throughout her four seasons at Creighton, but she brought her game to new heights over her last four games. Nelson reached at least 20 points in three of her last five outings. During that stretch she became Creighton’s all-time block leader (vs. Butler on March 4), just missed posting a triple-double (vs. Seton Hall on Feb. 26) and posted back-to-back 20+ point efforts in the Bluejays’ two BIG EAST Tournament games.