Tuesdays with the Bluejays (2013-14)
March 14, 2014
Freshman MC McGrory
On my way home from the Big East Tournament I got some time to reflect on what makes being a Bluejay so much fun. A lot of it has to do with the amazing support that we receive from the Creighton community, and this past weekend was a great display of this support. All of the support we received this weekend was amazing. From our parents and friends to all of the past, current, and former Bluejays, the support that we received this weekend is what I will remember for years to come.
On Saturday we were treated to lunch by an alumni, all of the food was homemade including the desserts. It was a college kid's dream! Then for dinner we went to a future Bluejay's house and had some fantastic chicken. I don't think I'll be satisfied with the chicken at Brandeis again after having that. I think we all gained about five pounds on Saturday!
We also have the best band in the Big East. I got chills when they sang "When the Jays Go Marching In" before each game and our send off from the hotel each day got us pumped. The band, Blue Crew, and dance team created a fan tunnel to send us off from the hotel. All of the enthusiasm they brought was even more impressive considering they were operating on so little sleep. They left Omaha Saturday night after the men's game and arrived Sunday morning in time for our game. Starbucks was one of their favorite spots at the hotel.
While the tournament may not have ended the way we wanted to, we will always have these great memories. Thank you to everyone who made this tournament memorable!
As much as we miss Carbondale and Terre Haute, New York City is a small step up from that. We all were initially ecstatic when the coaches told us that we would be flying to all of our conference games. Little did we realize that commercial flying isn’t the most glamorous thing in the world. With eight out of our nine away trips done, I would say we are all seasoned travelers. Each of us have our own way of passing time during layovers and delays, so I’m going to do a break down of each of the players habits during travel days.
We all are getting the hang of the new travel schedule and Iʼm sure there will be adjustments made next year, but so far we survived. We have had close to the worst luck when it comes to delays and cancelations but we figure out creative ways to pass the time and we become that much closer to each other. Team bonding in the airport is exactly what we love to do on our Saturday nights.
Iʼm glad I could show you a different side to the team! Bench Mob Member
#22 - Taylor
As I am writing this, the team and I are currently on a flight to Philadelphia to start the second round of conference play. We are all very excited to begin playing all of these teams again: to either beat them again or get revenge and beat them for the first time. As a freshman, I am still learning how all of this works. I have learned where the University of Villanova is along with Butler, Xavier and Seton Hall. I got to fly on my first charter flight as well, which was amazing! I’ve never been able to completely fall asleep on a plane before, but it is much easier to fall asleep when you have blankets and a seat that leans back with a leg rest, that’s for sure!
Since this is our first time in the Big East Conference, we have had some drastic traveling changes from the previous years. We have had flights canceled, a few flights delays, and even a change in traveling plans (busing to Indianapolis instead of flying).
Sure, it’s been stressful at times, but it is all a big adventure and an experience for each of us. Most college kids don’t get the opportunity to go play basketball and tour New York City, Washington DC and Vegas with their team. One of the coolest things that we get to do, I think, is pre-order our food at restaurants! It’s amazing how when we get to these restaurants, there are waters on the table and they come out with our salads and meals within a few minutes.
January 21, 2014
Junior Alexis Akin-Otiko
Over the last several weeks we have been traveling all over. So far this season we have been to Vegas, Washington D.C., New York, and many other cities with the last road trip ending in Indianapolis. Being the team farthest west in our conference has allowed us to travel all over and for me it has helped me enjoy my college basketball experience that much more.
I am not just talking about racking up the frequent flyer miles either. You would think being around the same group of people all day everyday would drive a person crazy, but for me it has done the complete opposite. It is on those long layovers in the airport playing Heads Up or goofy conversations on the plane when you run out of lives on Candy Crush that I have come to enjoy more and more.
Slowly I have begin to believe that basketball is not solely about the number of hours you put in on the court that leads to winning conference championships. Although that is a huge chunk of it, it is the off the court “stuff” that gives teams the extra edge. Bonding with your teammates and building an unspoken trust is what makes teams good.
January is almost over and we are soon heading into the second half of conference play. We are now settling down from the start of spring semester and the crazy travel schedule of winter break that makes this the perfect opportunity for us to focus even more on the team.
This is the first time in a while where we have an entire week between games. I think now that we are solid on the off the court aspect we are ready to go to another level. It feels good to be able to practice and work on getting better instead of focusing so much on what the other team is going to bring on game night. This is a nice clean break that could help us move forward as a team and lead us where we want to go. I cannot wait until Saturday to show an even stronger team out there. Now that I believe we are headed in the right direction off the court it is time to go to work! Go Jays!!!
--Alexis Akin-Otiko #45
January 7, 2014
Junior Sammy Jensen
Wow, what an exciting week it has been for the Bluejays. After a home win against a very tough Villanova team (12/28), we headed out to the historic D.C. for out first Big East road trip.
The game against Georgetown (1/1) was definitely a nail biter. We knew we would have to be tough, take care of the ball, and knock down some shots in order to give ourselves a chance to win. The game was all tied up at half time, which would make for a very fun second half. A few runs were made by each team, but neither team managed to pull away. With just seconds left in the game, pre-season All-BIG EAST selection, Sarah Nelson, knocked down a three to send the game into overtime. We had all the momentum going into overtime and from there it was history. We came away with our second BIG EAST win and first win on the road.
Next up on the schedule: DePaul (1/4). They were picked first in the preseason rankings, and coming into the game they had only lost to three very tough teams (Notre Dame, Kentucky, and Northwestern.) Just like every other BIG EAST game we knew we would have to be focused and determined to win the game. After struggling the opening minutes of the game, we came together and fought back as a team. Behind the tremendous offensive performance by senior McKenzie Fujan, we came back from a 16 point deficit to win the game, 86=78. It was a great win for our team and has lead to a lot of confidence heading into our next few games.
We are currently 3-0 in BIG EASTplay and are headed to New York to take on familiar foe St. John's and then to Rhode Island to take on Providence. We will be back in Omaha on January 15th against Xavier.
December 31, 2013
Sophomore Tessa Leytem
Since the last blog plenty has happened. We traveled to Las Vegas, made it home for Christmas, and began our exciting journey into the Big East. So much fun!
First off, Las Vegas was crazy. Most of us have never been there previously so we definitely looked like a bunch of tourists. All of the lights, people, and buildings were so neat! The first night we arrived we went to a magic show that completely blew all of our minds. The "illusionist" performed multiple tricks where he would be chained up in some cage and then somehow pop up in a completely different location. Yes, it was as ridiculous as it sounds. It was a lot of fun though. Everyday we had a couple hours of free time where we could walk the strip if we wanted. The hotels were all so big and extravagant. All of it was much different than the Midwest scene that most of us are accustomed too. With all of the business around us, however, we made sure not to get distracted from the actual reason we were there, to win some games!! In the tournament we played Oregon State, Clemson, and UNLV. We came out of the three games with a 2-1 record and a pretty sweet new pre-game pump up ritual. And how could I forget, we even got to see Fritsche and Flan dance in the locker room! This is a very rare occurrence. We definitely all got a good laugh out of it, but I must say that they might want to stick to coaching basketball.
After Las Vegas we were all able to enjoy a couple days at home for the holiday before we returned to practice on the 26th. We all had a great time at home with friends and family. It's pretty crazy how long two days feel when we are use to seeing each other for a few hours everyday. When we all got together for practice again it seemed like forever since we've seen each other!
Although it's not always easy getting refocused so quickly after only thinking about Christmas cookies and presents for a couple days, we knew we needed to be sharp if we were going to defeat Villanova in our first Big East game. They were a somewhat of a difficult team to prepare for, but as always our coaches did a great job getting us ready. Despite the last couple minutes having everyone on the edge of their seats, we came out with the W! Villanova was a great win and really gives us confidence going into the rest of conference play.
We are currently on our way to Washington, D.C. to take on the Georgetown Hoyas. It was an interesting string of events getting here though as our flight times got mixed up. After practice, while everyone was showering and getting ready to go, we get a call saying we need to be ready to go in 10 minutes!! As some of you may understand, that's not the easiest task for a bunch of college aged girls. You could definitely say the locker room was a bit frantic. I can say with confidence that there is never a boring moment with this team.
Despite the rush, we did make the flight! This means though that it is time for my usual plane ride nap. Don't forget to tune in for the game tomorrow at 3!!
December 17, 2013
Sophomore Marissa Janning
Hey Bluejay fans!
This past week has been a little crazy with finals and fitting in practice time before games! It’s nice to be done with school for winter break so that we can relax and focus on basketball.
We’ve had a lot of ups and downs so far this season. This past weekend we played Nebraska in Lincoln, and let’s just say it was a rough one. We’re making steps to be better game-by-game and practice-by-practice. With the stress of finals gone, we’re hoping to be able bounce back this week and Vegas and turn things around.
Sooooo…. LAS VEGAS. We are in Vegas for 4 days and play 3 games. Oregon State, Clemson, and UNLV are the three teams we will be facing. If you remember, we went to Cancun last year and killed it, so it’s safe to say we’re ready for out little vacation/business trip this year to try and do it all over again!
I don’t have details on Vegas so you’ll have to catch up with our next blogger to hear about all the fun things we did! BUT. Thursday (the 19th) is our freshman Lauren’s 19th birthday, and the last night we’re in Vegas (the 22nd) is Taylor’s 21ST BIRTHDAY. So keep that in mind and show them some love on those days!
After Vegas we all part ways for a few days to go home. I get to finally go back to Minnesota to see my family, friends, and my puppy! I now have three nephews as my sister had twins on September 10th along with my oldest nephew who was born in May 2012.
There’s a lot for me to catch up with at home, but my brother (Matt) will still be overseas for this Christmas. If you don’t know, he plays basketball professionally and has been in Italy the last two years and is in Croatia this year! He’s doing great and loving it, but of course missing all of us!
That’s about all I have for you guys this time… but stay tuned to hear about VEGAS BABY!
Always appreciate your love and support!
December 10, 2013
Senior Riley Norman
Hey Bluejay Fans!
As you all know, our team has been through the ringer in a few close games thus far in the season. Drake, Kansas, Oklahoma, and last Saturday’s game against BYU didn’t quite fall our way, but that is not to say there wasn’t a major fight, and I can say with confidence that those games definitely will not define how this season is going to go. But all that being said, with a huge game against Nebraska coming up, there is no time to dwell on the past. Spirits need to be as high as ever to get this huge win on Saturday in Lincoln, so I figured I would keep this blog a little lighter than most. PLUS it is finals week, so I know everyone (including myself) could use a refresher!
I’d like to take this time to say a few sweet comments about my teammates :)
Lauren Works—Lauren is so incredibly sweet. She is the new Kampy on the team in the sense that everything she says is immediately followed by an “oh my gosh I’m sorry,” “thank you so much,” or “oh my gosh thank you so much.” She also has been known to fall for Flan’s jokes, making her the newest member of Team Ditz (alongside Tessa Leytem and the captain of Team Ditz, Carli Tritz.)
MC McGrory—This girl has completely surprised me by coming out of her shell so much over the course of the semester! I like to think that it was because she spent so much time on the side during her injury; the Bench Mob knows how to bring out the best in people :). But she is hilarious, and she LOVES ham, in case you didn’t know.
Brianna Rollerson—Bri, AKA Bronna, never fails to make all of us laugh every single day. Her light-hearted spirit brings joy to the entire team. Oh, and her hairstyle changes are pure entertainment!
Marissa Janning—Marissa is great on the court, but little do people know that she is also great at impressions. Particularly as Kesha singing the song, “Timber.” I have video proof, people!
Alexis Akin-Otiko—I will never get tired of seeing Lex’s look of shock when some of us are busting our best moves in the locker room before games. I apologize Lex, one day we will realize how truly ridiculous we all look.
Taylor Johnson—This year on the Bench Mob, we have taken up a new activity to spice up life on the side of practice. We like to pretend we are professional sports broadcasters and announce play-by-play during drills. Our personas are Rick and Bobby and yes, we plan on taking up ESPN’s offer upon graduation.
Sammy Jensen—Hate to say it, but I think Sammy has become a little feistier now that big, scary Ally Jensen isn’t there to push her around! She definitely isn’t afraid to throw jokes back at anyone, but we have found that often times it is Sammy laughing the most at her own jokes…classic move, Sam :)
Jordan Garrison—Jordan is someone that is constantly a rock for the team. Calm, cool, and collected, she never fails to make people feel good when they need it. But don’t be fooled by her quiet demeanor, she has shown us every year that she has crazy karaoke skills!
Alyssa Kamphaus—We have quickly learned that Kampy’s been hiding her dance moves from us for years! She now proudly joins in during our impromptu dance parties like a champ. And not to mention, she shows us all up!
Sarah Nelson—Aside from basketball, Sarah has a major talent in storytelling. She turns a dull story into a mass production via extreme, over-dramatic words and some funny one-liners. It simply cannot be beat.
McKenzie Fujan—Confession: McKenzie competes alongside of me for the title of worst dancer on the team. But I’m sure everyone else only wishes that stopped us! :)
Carli Tritz—As the newest member of the Bench Mob, Carli sometimes struggles with our daily responsibilities, such as making sure the horn doesn’t go off while Flan is talking. Last Friday, there was some new equipment lying around so, naturally, Carli decided to press the button that says HORN because, “…she wanted to see what would happen…” Well guys, believe it or not, the horn worked.
That does it, folks! I hope this gives everyone a little inside scoop and makes you all appreciate the personalities behind these great basketball players! Now let’s get a big win this weekend!
December 3, 2013
Senior McKenzie Fujan
Let’s be honest, the Oklahoma encounter did not come out the way we would have liked. But have no fear my friends, we will come out better than ever. Show me a team that has had success without going through trials and tribulations first.
Don’t get me wrong, though, losing is awful.
But that is also why I like this quote a great deal. You can’t appreciate success until you know what the bottom feels like—and I am pretty sure the locker room post Oklahoma was “the bottom.” However, when a team hates losing more than they love winning then you can guarantee their passion to never feel that way again will motivate them.
Basketball season is a marathon, not a sprint, my fellow Bluejays. It’s very cliché but it’s very true—it’s not about where you start, it’s about where you finish. If I recall correctly, we got our butts spanked by Notre Dame and Oklahoma over the last two years and things still turned out to be prettyyy great. Never doubt the power of a good ole blow to the ego...success usually follows with this team.
Over and out,
November 26, 2013
Senior Alyssa Kamphaus
Hey Bluejay Fans,
This past week we picked up two more wins vs. Houston and South Dakota to make us 4-2 on the year. If you were at either one of the games you probably know that the end of each game was a little scary, but we were thankful for both of the wins, which leads to my main point for this blog since Thanksgiving is on Thursday.
Being a busy student-athlete, I tend to forget how much I actually have to be thankful for. Speaking for our team, even though we have lost two close games this year, we are still thankful for the four that we have won. Also, I am assuming I can speak for all my teammates that we are all extremely thankful to be given this opportunity to play basketball and attend a college that is prestigious.
I am personally thankful for every single teammate and coach. Each individual brings so much to this team and I am so blessed to have them all in my life. Not a lot of people can say they have a second family they can always count on. I never thought having 13 sisters would be so easy (haha).
Even though I don’t tell them enough, I am thankful for my mom, dad, brother, and sister. They have done so much for me and have supported me every step of the way. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
I am also thankful for all of my past coaches and teammates and for all the memories I have created with them.
Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your time with your friends and family! Safe Travels!
November 19, 2013
Senior Jordan Garrison
If I had to describe this team in one word, I would say that we are FIGHTERS!
The thing that gives me the most faith in this team is the amount of fight that we present on the floor, each and every second we step onto it. It does not matter if it’s during practice when things have not been going smoothly, or if we are having a rough patch during a game...you can bet that our team is going to give it our all.
That’s what I saw in our team this weekend! As most of you all know we had three games this week, which called for a lot of preparation, mental focus, and physical effort, and I was very proud of our teams efforts.
We came out strong on Tuesday with a nice victory over SDSU. It felt really good to get that first solid win under our belt. We then came out on Saturday and finally had an opportunity to take care of some “unfinished business”; we had the chance to claim a victory over a Minnesota team in which we had lost in double overtime to last year. Needless to say, we stepped up to the challenge, and came out with a great team victory.
The last part of our three game spill was a road game against KU. Having played a great Minnesota team on Saturday, hopping on the bus and traveling to Lawrence, and playing KU was not going to be easy…we knew as a team we would really have to lock in and focus in order to play this game. Although the game did not end like we had hoped, our team never got down. Continually throughout the game we fought our way back and put ourselves in positions to win a ball game. Yes, we could have played a better basketball game, because no game is ever perfect, but I was proud of our effort!
That being said, teams are going to have nights when they are unstoppable, teams are going to have nights when they seem to hit every shot they take; teams are also going to have nights when they can’t buy a basket. This means that sometimes these things are out of a team’s control. A team can execute every play and get great looks, but just not knock down a shot. But, for a team to be good, they have to FIGHT through the ups and the downs. They have to give their all every possession, even if things aren’t going their way.
I can promise you this. The Bluejays are going to give every ounce of effort we have on that court, and we are going to FIGHT till the end!
Have a good week Jay’s Fans!
November 12, 2013
Senior Sarah Nelson
“Tough times never last, but tough people do.” –Norman Vincent Peale
Losing sucks....plain and simple. There is no denying that we aren’t happy with how our game went on Friday but the season is long and we are ready to put it behind us. We are excited to have our home opener today and we are ready to kick off this season right!
As bad as losing is, we are all so incredibly lucky to have so many people that support us and pick us up while we are down. In the spirit of Thanksgiving coming up, I think it’s appropriate to thank all of these special people.
My teammates: I know I am a little biased, but I truly believe that I have the greatest teammates in the world. We are all such good friends off the court so it makes the transition to on the court easier. We all are there for each other during tough losses, which make the great victories just that much sweeter. I’m looking forward to seeing how this season goes and all of the great things that will happen if we continue to work hard and improve every day. Our senior class is looking forward to making sure that we go out with a bang.
Our coaches: The best part about our coaches is that we always know their doors are always open. They encourage us to come talk to them, whether it’s about basketball or not. All of our coaches are our biggest cheerleaders but obviously are not afraid to give us constructive criticism when it is needed. I love that after a loss Flan always specifically tells us at least a couple things each of us needs to improve on. It shows that every person has an important role on our team. He also puts up with our super specific questions during scout; “If South Dakota State’s best player were to cut across the lane and then catch and take three dribbles then pass then cut across the lane again to the opposite elbow, do I still need to jump to the ball?” Just kidding they aren’t that bad (usually) but we really have a great coaching staff and we are lucky to have them.
Friends: We are so blessed to have so many close friends of all ages that come out and show their support. One of the best parts about Creighton is that you can always see athletes supporting other athletes. We are all excited about the transition to the Big East and it’s exciting to see other teams do great things. I also love seeing former players in the stands. Chatting with them and knowing that they can relate to the ups and downs of basketball is really comforting. Finally, I should probably thank my boyfriend in this section who gets texts after games sometimes saying “I suck at basketball” or “I’m so upset right now.” I know you roll your eyes at them but thanks for kindly putting up with my various emotional states.
Family: We all love our families a lot and the fact that almost everyone’s parents come to the majority of our games. We appreciate the numerous delicious meals that you guys provide us with and putting up with the crazy basketball schedule. As the baby of the family, I am especially spoiled in that my parents only have to miss one or two games a season. Thanks Mom and Dad for everything you do for me. You two really are the best and seeing you in the stands supporting me at every game means the world to me. I love you! (I would say something nice about my sister here but then she would tell everyone I actually like her a little and I can’t have that.)
You!!! If you are reading this blog, you are a major reason why we play everyday. We are so lucky to have such great fans who stick with us through the good times and bad. You make our games fun to play in and give us a boost of confidence during big plays. Without you, we would not be able to have such a great home court advantage. Your support means everything to us and we look forward to seeing a lot of you tonight!
Happy Game Day and Go Jays!
November 5, 2013
Senior Carli Tritz
Welcome back, all my lovely Creighton fans! The start of the best time of the year is here—basketball season! I already know our fan base is just as excited as we are about this 2013-14 year. Your women’s team is returning with a loaded roster, high expectations, a handful of Top 25 votes, two Preseason 1st Team All-BIG EAST ballers on the squad, and heading into our first game with Drake on Friday with plenty of motivation. So, in a sense, we are absolutely ready to make some noise.
But when I say ready, I don’t mean flawless or perfect. I don’t mean 100% execution and no mistakes. I mean we are prepared and seasoned. We are wise and mature. We are hungry and motivated, but most importantly we are stronger! Literally. We got our butts whooped this summer in the weight room and it has definitely paid off (although I can’t say I miss this part thatttttt much)!
Throughout the season you will see this team at all-time highs mixed in with some “I just need my mom and a hug” type of lows. And that is what this blog will reflect—the heart, emotions, and vibes of the players and team. Right now, we are feeling pretty good. We just won our exhibition game versus Fort Hays State and are currently preparing for our former foe, Drake. I feel as though this team is ready to explode. We are almost at a point where we have received enough preseason attention that we just want to get out there and DO it already. We want to step out there and BE undefeated at home, BE the “Duel in the Desert” champs, or BE the BIG EAST Regular Season and Tournament champions instead of hearing about it or talking about it. We want to BE great.
Believing you are great is the first step to actually being great. We have had a couple great seasons, but that doesn’t really mean anything at this point in time. We are ready to make our games become statements for our opponents and our new conference rivals. We are ready to get Omaha behind us and show you all what this team is all about. We believe and we are ready for the challenge. We know what it takes to get there, too.
I think greatness is surrounding this team.
And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t dying to be great on the court with them.
The newest member of the Bench Mob, Carli.