OMAHA, Neb. – The Creighton women's basketball team has earned the No. 14 seed in the Fresno Regional and will face No. 3 seed and 14th-ranked St. John's in Norman, Okla., this Sunday in NCAA Tournament first round action. The Bluejays and Red Storm will meet at Oklahoma's Lloyd Noble Center on Sunday at 4:05 pm on ESPN2.
Creighton (20-12) earned its fourth NCAA Tournament bid in school history with a 53-38 win over Drake in the championship game of the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Sunday in St. Charles, Mo. This will be Creighton's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002, while the Bluejays also played in the 1992 and 1994 NCAA Tournaments.
The Bluejays are the top defensive team in the MVC, allowing just 56.6 points per game on the season, including only 43.7 per game during their MVC Tournament run. The Jays enter the NCAA Tournament winners in eight of their last nine games.
Creighton is led by first-team all-MVC guard Carli Tritz. The sophomore leads the team with 14.5 points, 3.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game on the season. Tritz was named the MVC Tournament MVP after she averaged 19.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game, including a career-high 29-point performance against regular-season champion Missouri State in the semifinals.
Sophomore Sarah Nelson earned all-tournament team honors and was an honorable-mention all-MVC selection this season. The forward averages 12.6 points per game and leads the team in rebounding (7.7 rpg), blocks (41), field-goal percentage (.500) and double-doubles (10).
St. John's owns a 22-9 record, which included a 13-3 record in the Big East. Four players score in double figures for the Red Storm. Shenneika Smith leads the team with 12.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Nadirah McKenith (12.0), Eugene McPherson (11.8) and Da'Shena Stevens (11.0) all average double figures as well.
Creighton won the only previous meeting between these teams, defeating the Red Storm in New York, 72-66, on Nov. 28, 1997.
The Creighton-St. John's match up is the first of two games at the site, with No. 6-seed Oklahoma and No. 11-seed Michigan playing 30 minutes after the completion of CU's game. Creighton and St. John's will be televised on ESPN2 with a 4:05 pm tipoff.
Creighton Bluejays Pre-NCAA Tournament Notes
• Creighton is appearing in its fourth NCAA Tournament - 1992, 1994, 2002, 2012
• Creighton is 2-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament:
• Creighton vs. Long Beach State in Omaha, W, 79-66, March 18, 1992
• Creighton at Stephen F. Austin, L, 74-75, March 22, 1992
• Creighton at Bowling Green, W, 84-73, March 16, 1994
• Creighton at Texas Tech, L, 65-75, March 19, 1994
• Creighton vs. Florida International in State College, Pa., L, 58-73, March 15, 2002
• Creighton is sending both of its basketball teams to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in school history (2002).
• Head coach Jim Flanery was an assistant coach on Creighton’s previous two NCAA Tournament teams (1994, 2002) and this is his first NCAA Tournament as a head coach.
• Flanery picked up his 190th career win on Sunday to move his career winning percentage to .597 – which is a school record. He is six wins shy of Bruce Rasmussen’s school-record 196.
• Creighton has now won 20 games in a season for the sixth time in Flanery’s 10 years.
• Creighton will be advancing to its fifth straight postseason after appearing in the WNIT in the past four years. The Bluejays have now advanced to the postseason in eight of Flan’s 10 seasons and in nine of the past 11 seasons.
• Creighton earned the MVC’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament by winning the MVC Tournament on Sunday, defeating Drake 53-38 in the championship game.
• Creighton held the highest scoring team in the MVC and the No. 1 seeded regular-season champion Missouri State Lady Bears to a season-low 47 points in its 56-47 semifinal win.
• The Bluejays eliminated two-time reigning tournament champion Northern Iowa with a 53-46 win in the MVC quarterfinals.
• Creighton has won more MVC games over the past 10 years than any program in the league.
• Sophomore Carli Tritz was named the MVC Tournament MVP after averaging 19.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game in the three wins.
• Tritz scored a career-high 29 points in the semifinal win over Missouri State. She scored 27 points in the second half to outscore the Lady Bears 27-24 on her own after halftime.
• Tritz set a school record by making 20-of-26 free-throws in this year’s tournament.
• Tritz’s 19.5 points per game in four career MVC Tournament games is a school record.
• Sophomore Sarah Nelson was named to the All-Tournament Team after averaging 10.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.0 blocks per game in the tournament.
• Nelson blocked a career-high six shots in CU’s semifinal win, one shy of the school record.
• Nelson’s nine blocked shots at the tournament tied Jenny Olson’s school-record for blocks in a single tournament (1994).
• Sophomore McKenzie Fujan tied her career-high with 12 points in the championship game, as she scored the first 11 points for the Bluejays in the second half. Fujan hit a career-high three three-pointers during her 11-point outburst to start the second half.
• Senior DaNae Moore scored a career-high 15 points in the MVC quarterfinal win over UNI.
• Sophomore Carli Tritz was named first-team all-MVC this season, the first Bluejay sophomore since Christy Neneman (2002) to earn first-team honors.
• Tritz is one of three players in school history to record at least 800 points and 200 assists in her first two seasons on campus (joining Hall of Famers Connie Yori and Becky Flynn).
• Sophomore Sarah Nelson was named honorable mention all-MVC this season.
• Nelson’s 245 rebounds this year rank fifth in single-season school history and her 41 blocked shots rank eighth.
• Junior Ally Jensen is tied for ninth in school history with 65 three-pointers this season.
• Jensen ranks tenth in school history with 144 career three-pointers.
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