The Golden Gophers finished 2012-13 with an 13-17 record and a 7-9 mark in the Conference USA.
Like the Bluejays, Houston is in its first year in a new conferece as the Cougars became a member of the American Athletic Conference.
Houston returns nine letterwinners from last season, including four starters (Amerson, Campbell, Smith, & Thompson).
Houston was picked to finish seventh in the AAC, with 28 votes. The Cougars were picked just ahead of South Florida and just behind SMU.
Creighton vs. Houston: Creighton leads the all-time series with Houston, 2-1. The Bluejays took the series edge with a 75-54 win in Houston on Dec. 8, 2012.
Series with Houston: Date Result Score/Site 11/24/04 L 63-80 in Houston 11/30/05 W 76-59 in Omaha 12/8/12 W 75-54 in Houston
Last Time vs. Houston (12-8-12): W, 75-54 @ Houston Led by 20 points from McKenzie Fujan, the Creighton women’s basketball team blasted Houston 75-54 on Saturday, Dec. 8.
The Bluejays struggled out of the gate as Houston scored the first five points and pushed their lead to 14-7 with 14:45 left in the first period. Coming out of the media timeout, Sarah Nelson hit the Jays first three-pointer. Nelson’s triple ignited a 13-4 run for the Jays as Creighton claimed their first lead of the game at 20-18. Marissa Janning tossed in five of her 15 points during the run.
Moments later Janning drilled another three from the right corner to give Creighton its largest lead of the half at 23-20 with 8:43 remaining. The Jays, however, went ice cold for the rest of the half, missing their final 12 shots of the period. Creighton’s shooting woes allowed Houston to close the half on a 13-2 run of their own, sending the Jays to the locker room down 33-25 at halftime.
The second half belonged to Fujan as the Weston, Neb., scored the first five points of the second half and went on to deliver 17 of her game-high 20 points in the period. Fujan ended the Jays shooting drought at 10:09 with a three-ball from the left corner at 18:34. Just 33 seconds later she converted a back-cut for an easy layup to get the Jays within one possession at 33-30. After two Houston foul shots, A. Jensen drilled her third triple, then Alyssa Kamphaus’ driving layup pulled Creighton even at 35-35 with 15:31 remaining.
The Jays went on to extend their run to 21-3 in the first eight minutes of the second half as Janning hit another three-pointer followed by a layup from Alexis Akin-Otiko to give Creighton a 40-36 lead. Finally Sammy Jensen delivered the knockout blow with back-to-back three-pointers, pushing the Jays edge to double-digits at 46-36 with 12:28 to go.
Houston never recovered as the Cougars got no closer the seven points (50-43) the rest of the way. Down the stretch Fujan and the Jays continued to score at will, pushing the lead to as much as 24 on two free throws by S. Jensen (73-49) before claiming the 75-54 win.
Houston Head Coach Todd Buchanan (Murray State, 1995) Overall record of 142-156.
Fourth season at Houston, 43-52 (.452) as a Cougar.
Led Houston to an overall record of 26-6 in his first season (2010-11).
That season Houston stormed through Conference USA with a perfect 16-0 mark in regular season play, becoming only the second team in league history to achieve the feat.
Buchanan also returned the Cougars back to national prominence as Houston earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2010-11 and cracked the top 25 polls for the first time since the 2004-05 season.
Buchanan was honored as the Conference USA Coach of the Year in 2010-11 and was a WBCA National Coach of the Year finalist.
Scouting the Cougars (1-3) Houston dropped its first three games of the season, falling to Mississippi State (76-68), Northwestern State (74-70) and to Texas A&M (63-51). The Cougars rebounded to earn their first win, 66-61, over North Texas on Wednesday, Nov. 20.
In the victory over North Texas, Houston forced 26 turnovers and got to the free throw line 45 times. Te’onna Campbell as opened her senior season with a double-double scoring 12 points and grabbing 13 boards in the win over North Texas.
On the season, the Cougars are led by 41 points (10.3 ppg) from sophomore Marche Amerson.
Despite their size, the Cougars had difficulty rebounding the ball last season and that problem reared its head again against North Texas as Houston allowed 53 rebounds to the Mean Green.
Another area to watch with Houston is ball security. Last season the Bluejays committed 20 turnovers in their win at Houston. This season the Cougars are averaging 19.5 turnovers per game. Houston is forcing 16 per contest.
Keys to the Game w/Houston:
Ball security: This could be listed as a key in every game, but against Houston it is specifically important. The Cougars can be undisciplined and are prone to turn the ball over, but they rely on their athleticism to force more turnovers.
Rebound: Despite starting three players over 6-0, not including Campbell, Houston has been outrebounded 195-185 this season. In the Bluejays win last season, Creighton won the battle of the boards, 49-35.
Get Nelson help in the Post: In Creighton’s two victories, Alexis Akin-Otiko has reached double-figures. Creighton must get support for Nelson in the post from the trio of Akin-Otiko, Kamphaus and Rollerson.
Rounding Out the Year Creighton has won 13 straight home games. The Bluejays last loss came against Kansas on Nov. 25, 2012 - a span of 363 days. With a win over Houston, the Bluejays will have completed a calender year without a home loss.
Dropping 50 Creighton has scored 50 points in a half 14 times under head coach Jim Flanery, including in each of the last two meetings with the Cougars. The Bluejays outscored Houston 50-21 in the final period on Dec. 8, 2012. In that second half, Creighton shot 17-of-28 from the field (.607) and10-13 from beyond the arc (.769). Creighton also scored 50 on the Cougars in a victory in Omaha (76-59) in the second half. The Bluejays are 13-1 when they’ve scored 50 or more in a half.
Date Opponent Pts/Half Final 12/8/02 vs. Iowa 52/1 W, 89-82 1/18/03 vs. Evansville 55/1 W, 98-75 2/9/03 vs. Wichita State 50/2 W, 84-76 3/22/03 at Siena 59/2 W, 96-86 11/30/03 vs. Stephen F. Austin 52/1 W, 91-64 1/8/04 vs. Indiana State 53/1 W, 87-69 11/28/04 vs. #18 Minnesota 52/2 L, 71-79 12/31/04 at Southern Illinois 51/2 W, 85-63 1/2/05 at Evansville 55/2 W, 91-75 1/30/05 vs. Bradley 51/2 W, 89-71 11/30/05 vs. Houston 50/2 W, 76-59 12/20/10 vs. North Dakota 50/2 W, 96-57 12/8/12 at Houston 50/2 W, 75-54 2/2/13 at Drake 56/1 W, 98-71 Bold = Home Game Italics = Neutral Site
Mini-Tournament Provides Splits Creighton, Minnesota and Kansas played a defacto mini-tournament over a five day stretch. Each squad finished the stretch 1-1 as the home team won all three games.
Nov. 16, 2013 - Creighton defeated Minnesota, 63-52 in Omaha.
Nov. 17, 2013 - Kansas downed the Bluejays, 74-66, in Lawrence.
Nov. 20, 2013 - Minnesota took down Kansas, 70-59 in Minneapolis.
Nelson is Getting Her Groove Back After opening the season with five turnovers and just eight points in a loss at Drake, senior Sarah Nelson has put on a clinic in her last three games (South Dakota State, Minnesota and Kansas). During the three game stretch, Nelson is averaging 18.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists and just 1.7 turnovers.
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