State Farm MVC Tournament Notes • March 10-13
Creighton Bluejays at State Farm MVC Tournament
The Family Arena • St. Charles, Mo.
Radio: 1180 AM, www.koilam1180.com
MVC Tournament Central
TV: Semifinals and Championship on Fox Sports Midwest
Creighton Tournament Record: 19-17
Creighton Bluejays at State Farm MVC Tournament
The Family Arena • St. Charles, Mo.
Radio: 1180 AM, www.koilam1180.com
MVC Tournament Central
TV: Semifinals and Championship on Fox Sports Midwest
Creighton Tournament Record: 19-17
• All Creighton games at the tournament can be heard on KOIL AM 1180 in Omaha and online at www.koilam1180.com.
• Live stats for all games at the MVC Tournament can be found on the CU athletics website at www.gocreighton.com.
• Live video for Creighton’s quarterfinal game can be found on www.mvc.org, while the semifinals and championship game will be televised live on Fox Sports Midwest.
• Creighton is 19-17 all-time at the MVC Tournament, including 9-8 under Jim Flanery. The Bluejays have appeared in three of the past four championship games, but are now just 1-5 all-time in the title game.
• Creighton is playing at the No. 4 seed in the tournament for the fifth time. The Bluejays are 2-4 while playing as the No. 4 seed, including a 1-1 showing in 2008 in St. Charles.
• Creighton and Wichita State will meet for the third straight MVC Tournament, the first time the Bluejays have faced an opponent in three consecutive Valley postseasons.
• After shooting 31.5 percent from the field and 23.3 percent from three-point range in their first five games at The Family Arena, Creighton shot 44.1 percent from the field and 30.6 percent from long range at the venue during last year’s MVC Tournament.
• The Bluejays enter the MVC Tournament on their first three-game Valley losing streak since 2008.
• Creighton’s three-game losing streak is its longest entering the MVC Tournament since dropping three straight before the 1997 event.
• CU ranked 12th in the NCAA with just 14.1 turnovers per game through Feb. 24, but averaged 20.7 turnovers in its final three regular-season games.
Scouting the Bluejays
Creighton finished second or higher in the MVC for the sixth time in head coach Jim Flanery’s first nine seasons, tying for a second-place finish this season. After winning eight of nine games, the Bluejays enter the MVC Tournament on a three-game losing streak, their longest in conference play since the 2007-08 season.
The Bluejays again played the strongest non-conference schedule in the MVC, earning the best MVC non-conference win of the season, a 63-31 win over now nationally-ranked Marquette on Nov. 28. Seven of CU’s 11 non-conference foes have won 19 games already this season and the Jays’ strength of schedule following non-conference action was 39, while the rest of the league’s average was 182.
Creighton posted a 12-3 record at home this season, including an 8-1 mark in Valley play, but the Jays are just 6-8 away from home, with losses at No. 18 Notre Dame, ACC foe North Carolina State and MAC East Division champion Bowling Green.
The Jays have benefitted from Kelsey Woodard’s best offensive season, as the senior is averaging a team-best 13.2 points per game and tops the team with 63 three-pointers. Woodard’s 256 career three-pointers rank third in CU history and seventh in league history, while her 1,463 points rank ninth in school history. Fifth-year senior Sam Schuett (10.7 ppg) leads the team and ranks among MVC leaders with 7.3 rebounds per game. Schuett’s 866 career rebounds rank third in school history and 15th in league history.
Nine-time MVC Newcomer of the Week, Carli Tritz tops the team with 95 assists and 67 steals and is the top-scoring freshman in the MVC, averaging 11 points per game. Freshman Sarah Nelson (7.4 ppg) has twice earned MVC Newcomer of the Week honors this year and ranks second on the team in rebounds and blocked shots.
Head Coach Jim Flanery
Jim Flanery (Creighton, 1987) is in his ninth season as head coach at his alma mater, where he has led his team to six WNIT postseason appearances and five 20-win seasons. He owns a career record of 170-114 (.599), for the highest winning percentage by a coach in program history. In 2003 he became the winningest rookie coach in school and MVC history and led the Jays to the 2004 WNIT Championship. Prior to serving as CU’s head coach, Flanery served as CU’s top assistant for a decade. Flan is 9-8 all-time at the MVC Tournament and 13-11 at neutral sites.
CU at the Tournament
• The Bluejays are 19-17 all-time in the MVC Tournament, appearing in every tournament since joining the league in 1992-93. Creighton has gone 2-1 in each of the last two seasons as the No. 2 seed, losing in the championship game to Evansville in 2009 and UNI in 2010.
• Creighton is the No. 4 seed for the fifth time and the first time since the 2008 tournament was held at Family Arena for the first time. The Jays are just 2-4 as the No. 4 seed, appearing as the fourth seed in 1995, 1996, 2001 and 2008. The 1995 and 2001 teams lost in the quarterfinals, while the 1996 and 2008 teams each lost in the semifinals.
• The Bluejays have appeared in three of the last four title games, falling in heartbreaking fashion each time. CU is now 1-5 all-time in the MVC Tournament championship game, winning in 2002, but losing in 1994, 1999, 2007, 2009 and 2010.
• CU has won at least one game in the MVC Tournament in each of the past five seasons.
• CU is 16-12 at the tournament when the games are true neutral site contests. The Jays are 5-3 at The Family Arena.
• Creighton will play Wichita State on Friday, the third straight season the Bluejays and Shockers have met in the MVC Tournament. CU has never before played an opponent in three straight MVC tourneys. CU has won the previous two meetings and is 3-1 vs. WSU in the MVC postseason.
This is How a Heart Breaks
In three of the last four years and each of the last two, Creighton has come within one field goal of earning the MVC’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, losing in the MVC Tournament championship game each time. Creighton’s last three championship game losses have been by a combined four points.
• 2010 MVC Championship – Creighton leads by eight, 53-45, with 7:46 to play but does not score a point for the remainder of the game. Northern Iowa ends the game on a 9-0 run, including a pair of free-throws after a foul away from the basket with 7.1 seconds remaining to win 54-53.
• 2009 MVC Championship – In a game that featured 11 lead changes, the final one came with 0.3 seconds left on the clock, as Evansville hit the game-winning shot to down the Bluejays 47-45.
• 2007 MVC Championship – Creighton held an 11-point second-half lead, only to fall behind by five before tying the game late. The Bluejays had two free-throws to take the lead with six seconds left in regulation, but missed them both and lost 65-64 to Drake in overtime on the Bulldogs’ home floor.
Creighton-Wichita State Series
Creighton split the season series with the Shockers, winning 50-48 in overtime at home on Jan. 29, before losing 60-51 in Wichita on Feb. 25. Creighton leads the all-time series with Wichita State, 30-20. The Bluejays are 3-1 against Wichita State in the MVC Tournament, including wins in each of the previous two seasons in St. Charles. The Jays had won 11 straight meetings with WSU before the Shockers win last month. CU has still won 11 of the last 12 meetings and 17 of the last 19 encounters in the series. Jim Flanery is 17-3 overall against the Shockers, his most wins against any MVC opponent. CU has held WSU to 60 or fewer points in each of the last 10 meetings, as the Shockers are averaging just 49.6 points per game in that span.
Not So Family-Friendly Arena
In its first five games played at The Family Arena in St. Charles, site of this week’s State Farm MVC Tournament, the Bluejays averaged just 52.6 points per game, shooting 31.5 percent from the field (91-289) and 23.3 percent from three-point range (20-86). Last year, the Jays shot 44.1 percent from the field and 30.6 percent from three-point range, but are still shooting only 35.8 percent (158-441) from the field and 26.4 percent (39-148) from long range in eight games at the venue. The Bluejays average 57.1 points and allow 51.9 points per game all-time at the arena.
Career Numbers in the MVC Tourney
• Sam Schuett was named to the MVC All-Tournament team last year after averaging a team-high 12.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. In her career she averages 11.0 points and 8.1 rebounds at the MVC tourney, shooting 35.7 percent (10-28) from three-point range and 80 percent (20-25) at the free throw line.
• Kellie Nelson was named to the MVC All-Tournament team last year after she set a school record by shooting 78.9 percent (15-19) from the field in the event. She averaged 11.7 points and 5.3 rebounds to up her career averages to 6.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game all-time at the event.
• Kelsey Woodard was named to the MVC All-Tournament team in 2009, after leading the Jays with 13.3 points per game. In her career she averages 8.6 points per game at the event, and has shot 11-of-32 (.344) from three-point range in eight MVC tourney games.
• Ally Jensen scored a career-high 18 points, by making 6-of-12 three-pointers in CU’s quarterfinal win over Drake last year, but she did not score in CU’s other two games.
Flan in the Postseason
Head Coach Jim Flanery won his first MVC tournament game (70-54 over Illinois State in 2003), and is now 9-8 in the MVC Tournament. The Jays are 11-5 in the postseason WNIT under Flanery, including the WNIT Championship in 2004. Overall, Flanery’s teams are 20-13 in postseason games (WNIT and MVC tournament), including two WNIT Final Four appearances and three appearances in the MVC Tournament title game.
Should Creighton capture its second MVC Tournament title this week, the Bluejays would earn their fourth NCAA Tournament birth. The Bluejays have played in the NCAA Tournament in 1992, 1994 and 2002. CU is 2-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. If the Bluejays do not win the Valley title, CU will likely earn an invite to the postseason WNIT. CU has played in eight WNITs – 1987, 1989, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010. The Jays are 13-7 all-time in the postseason WNIT, including a Final Four run in 2003 and the 2004 WNIT Championship.
The Case for Postseason Play
At 18-11 entering the MVC Tournament, the Bluejays appear poised to at least earn an invitation to the WNIT for the seventh time in the last nine years. The Bluejays enter the week with an RPI of 68 according to www.collegerpi.com (as of March 7) – the exact RPI they had entering last year’s tourney. The Jays are 2-5 against the top 50 in the RPI, with wins over RPI No. 21 Marquette and No. 50 Missouri State. CU played Notre Dame (11) and Bowling Green (44) in non-conference play. CU’s RPI is third in the MVC, behind UNI (40) and Missouri State (50).
Creighton will be playing in its 30th game of the season on Friday. The Bluejays are 9-2 in their previous 30th game of the season. See below:
30th Game of the Year
03-14-10 vs. Northern Iowa^ L, 53-54
03-13-09 vs. Wichita State^ W, 49-41
03-14-08 vs. Missouri State^ W, 56-49
03-09-07 vs. Indiana State^ W, 69-65
03-21-04 at Washington* W, 74-69
03-20-03 at Maine* W, 74-67
03-09-02 vs. Drake^ W, 77-74
03-11-99 at Kansas State* L, 60-71
03-16-94 at Bowling Green! W, 84-73
03-14-92 at Utah^ W, 74-63
03-21-87 vs. Providence* W, 91-89
* WNIT; ^ Conference tournament; ! NCAA
Losing Streaks are Unusual
Creighton enters the MVC Tournament on a three-game losing streak – its longest losing skid since dropping three straight to ranked opponents in December 2009. The three-game skid in MVC play is CU’s longest since January 2008. Creighton has not lost four straight games since losing the first seven games of the 2006-07 season. The Bluejays have not lost four straight games in a winning season since 2000-01.
• Creighton is entering the MVC Tournament following a loss in the regular-season finale for the first time since 2008. The Jays would bounce back to win their quarterfinal game that season.
• Creighton is entering the MVC Tournament following consecutive losses for the first time since losing two straight to end the season in 2007. The Jays bounced back to advance to the MVC championship game that season.
• The last time Creighton entered the MVC Tournament on a three-game losing streak (1997), it lost its first game at the tourney.
• Creighton has ended its season on a losing streak only once in Jim Flanery’s first eight seasons, losing in the MVC Tournament and the WNIT first round in 2005.
March Happiness - Not Madness
Since 2001-02, the Bluejays have just one losing record in March – a 2-3 mark in 2007 despite a run to the MVC Tournament title game that year. In each of the past two seasons, the Bluejays have gone 5-2 in March and are now 33-19 (.635) all-time in March under Jim Flanery.
Sam Schuett and Kelsey Woodard were named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team as announced by the league office on Tuesday, while Kellie Nelson was tabbed to the second team. All three seniors were also named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District VII Teams earlier this season. Schuett graduated magna cum laude last spring and owns a 4.0 GPA in graduate school. Woodard has a 3.82 GPA in finance and Nelson carries a 3.88 GPA in mathematics.
Creighton led the MVC with 260 assists in conference play – 14.4 per game. The Bluejays’ 14.3 assists per game on the season also leads the league.
Tritz Approaching 100 Assists & History
Carli Tritz enters the MVC Tournament with a team-leading 95 assists this season. With five more assists she will become just the third freshman and just the second true freshman in school history to record 100 assists in a season, joining Connie Yori (105 in 1982-83) and Tanya Warren (150 in 1984-85). Both Yori and Warren are in the Creighton Hall of Fame and are the only two players in program history to have their numbers retired.
Sam Schuett notched the 100th block of her career at Missouri State (Feb. 25), making her just the sixth player in school history to reach that mark. The senior is in even more select company now, joining Creighton Hall of Famer Pam Gradoville as the only two players in school history with 1,000 points, 800 rebounds and 100 blocked shots in a career.
Creighton entered its game at Wichita State on Feb. 25 ranked 12th in the NCAA with 14.1 turnovers per game, but committed 25 turnovers in its loss at WSU. During Creighton’s three-game losing streak, the Bluejays are averaging 20.7 turnovers per game (20.7). Perhaps even more troubling, is the turnover margin during CU’s skid is minus-7, as Bluejay opponents are averaging only 13.7 turnovers in that span.
Flan Captures 100th MVC Win
Head coach Jim Flanery won his 100th career MVC game against Wichita State (Jan. 29), becoming the seventh coach in league history to reach that milestone.
Most MVC Coaching Wins (league games)
Name, School Wins Years
Cheryl Burnett, MSU 201 1988-02
Cindy Scott, SIU 199 1983-98
Jill Hutchison, ILS 170 1983-99
Tony DiCecco, UNI 117 1996-07
Lisa Bluder, DU 116 1991-00
Connie Yori, CU 109 1992-02
Jim Flanery, CU 105 2002-pr.
Flanery On Top of The Valley
Since taking over as the Bluejay head coach for the 2002-03 season, Jim Flanery has led the Bluejays to more Missouri Valley Conference wins than any other program in that span. See the chart below for records in regular-season MVC games since 2002-03.
MVC Records Since 2002-03
School W-L Pct.
Creighton 105-57 .648
Northern Iowa 99-63 .611
Indiana State 97-65 .599
Illinois State 97-65 .599
Missouri State 91-71 .562
Drake 89-73 .549
Bradley 72-90 .444
Evansville 64-98 .395
Wichita State 54-108 .333
Southern Illinois 42-120 .259
Another Winning Note for Flan
Jim Flanery captured his 170th career win against Illinois State (Feb. 19), tying his predecessor Connie Yori’s Creighton total. Yori tallied 170 wins in 10 seasons at Creighton, Flanery is in his ninth year. Current CU athletics director Bruce Rasmussen owns the school record with 196 career wins.
Creighton Coaching Wins
Name Wins Seasons
Bruce Rasmussen 196 12
Jim Flanery 170 9
Connie Yori 170 10
Gaye Kinnett 33 3
Eddye McClure 26 3
Howard Faber 11 1
I’ll Take 3-Pointers for 200 Alex
Creighton enters the MVC Tournament with 189 three-pointers made this season, just 11 shy of making 200 threes for the fourth straight season. The Jays have made at least 200 triples in five of Jim Flanery’s first eight seasons at the helm. Prior to Flanery’s tenure, the Jays had made 200 three-pointers in a season just twice.
Creighton has won at least 20 games in each of its previous three seasons. In school history, every time the Jays have won 20 games in a season, it has come in groups of at least three – winning at least 20 in three straight years (1985-87), four straight years (1991-94), three straight years (2002-04) and now again in three straight (2008-10). The Bluejays have won 20 games in five of Jim Flanery’s first eight seasons as head coach. With two more wins, Flan will become the first Bluejay head coach to lead a team to four straight 20-win seasons, as Connie Yori and Bruce Rasmussen split the previous four-consecutive 20-win season streak (1991-94). Yori won 20 games three times in her 10 years as CU’s head coach, while Rasmussen captured 20 wins in five of his 12 years leading the Bluejays.
With 12 blocked shots at Missouri State (Feb. 27), Creighton tied a school-record for blocks in a game. The 12 blocks were the most in a game under head coach Jim Flanery, topping the previous high of 11 recorded in an overtime win at San Diego State on Dec. 22, 2003. The school-record of 12 blocks came originally against Western Illinois on Jan. 4, 1993.
Woodard Shoots Higher
Kelsey Woodard made 5-of-10 three-pointers at Missouri State (Feb. 27), the third time this season and the 11th time in her career she has made at least five in a game. She now stands alone in third place in school history with 256 career three-pointers, which is tied with Kourtney Mennen (INS) for seventh and just two shy of Melody Howard (MSU) for sixth place in MVC history. Woodard has now played in 128 games in her career, ranked second in school history behind only Megan Neuvirth’s 130.
Schuett Doubles Up the MVC
Sam Schuett notched her fifth double-double of the year at Drake (March 5), with 13 points and 10 rebounds. All five of her double-doubles this season have come during MVC play. She now has 18 career double-doubles, 16 of which have come against MVC teams – 14 in the MVC regular-season and two in the MVC Tournament. Her only two non-conference double-doubles came at UC Davis (Nov. 27, 2009) and Nebraska (Nov. 30, 2007).
Tritz Sets (and adds to) MVC Record
Freshman Carli Tritz was named the MVC Newcomer of the Week a record nine times this season (while the rest of the league combined for eight wins), breaking the former mark of six honors set by teammate Kelsey Woodard in 2007-08. Tritz’s most recent honor came on March 7 after she led the Bluejays with 15 points, five assists and five steals against Drake in the final weekend of play. The rookie guard was honored on Nov. 29, Dec. 13, Dec. 27, Jan. 3, Jan. 10, Jan. 31, Feb. 14, Feb. 21 and March 7.
Tritz in Double Figures
Carli Tritz has scored in double figures 19 times during her freshman season, the most by a Bluejay rookie during Jim Flanery’s tenure, surpassing the 15 double figure games Kelsey Woodard posted as a rookie in 2007-08. Prior to Tritz, the last freshman to notch more than 15 double figure scoring games in a season was Laura Spanheimer with 21 in 2001-02.
Ahead at Half
The Bluejays are 14-0 when leading at halftime this year and have now won 18 straight games when leading at the half. Creighton has trailed at halftime in 10 games this year, but has come-from-behind to win three of those games – equalling the number of wins it had when trailing at halftime last year (3-8).
Stop at 60
Creighton is 32-2 over the last two seasons when holding opponents under 60 points and just 7-20 when opponents score 60 or more. In 21 of Creighton’s first 29 games played at D.J. Sokol Arena, the Bluejays have held opponents below 60 points, with 20 of those games resulting in a win (only loss was 58-57 to UNI earlier this season). The Jays’ have allowed 60 points in only one of their last 18 MVC wins – the 71-62 win over Indiana State on Feb. 17.
Good and Bad
Creighton enters the MVC Tournament on a three-game losing streak, following a three-game winning streak. CU had impressive numbers during its winning streak and some less than stellar numbers in its losing streak.
• The Bluejays averaged 13.7 turnovers per game in their three wins Feb. 12-19, but have since averaged 20.7 turnovers in their last three losses. Creighton’s 25 turnovers at Wichita State on Feb. 25 were its most turnovers in an MVC games since 27 against Evansville on Jan. 22, 2006.
• Creighton’s bench scored 34 points against Illinois State (Feb. 19) and out-scored the opposition’s bench 82-35 during its three-game winning streak (Feb. 12-19). But during its two losses it was out-scored 61-40 off the bench.
Creighton scored at least 70 points in three straight games on Feb. 12-19, the first time the Bluejays had scored 70 points in three straight games since Jan. 20-26, 2008. Prior to that stretch, the Jays hadn’t scored 70 points in regulation in three straight games since Nov. 19-24, 2007.
During Creighton’s most recent three-game winning streak, the Bluejays enjoyed their best shooting three-game span in six years. The Bluejays shot 48.3 percent (75-of-155) from the field in those three games, including 27-of-54 (.500) from three-point range. The Jays had not shot that well from the field over a three-game span since Jan. 30 – Feb. 4, 2005, when they shot 51.9 percent from the field in that stretch.
Eight of Creighton’s first 12 MVC wins this season have come by double digits, including its largest winning margin for the Bluejays in MVC play this year, a 71-44 thrashing of Illinois State on Feb. 19. That 27-point margin of victory marked the fourth largest in MVC play under Jim Flanery.
Largest MVC Winning Margins
Under Jim Flanery (since 2002-03)
Opponent Date Score Margin
Wichita State 1-7-10 89-48 41
Wichita State 1-4-08 83-47 36
Missouri State 1-8-09 92-63 29
Illinois State 2-19-11 71-44 27
Evansville 1-6-11 81-55 26
Evansville 1-14-10 63-37 26
Creighton equalled its season-high with 12 three-pointers against Bradley (Feb. 12) and shot a season-high 57.1 percent from three-point range against the Braves. The Bluejays rank second in the MVC, averaging 6.5 three-pointers per game, but they are averaging 7.8 three-pointers per game over their last six contests.
Our Freshmen Are Good
Carli Tritz (9) and Sarah Nelson (2) have both earned multiple MVC Newcomer of the Week honors this year, with Tritz setting a league record with her nine honors. The freshman duo won 11 of the 17 Valley Newcomer of the Week awards this season.
Nelson Newcomer of the Week (x2)
Sarah Nelson was named MVC Newcomer of the Week for the second time this season on Feb. 7 after averaging 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. She had 14 points and a career-high three blocked shots in playing a career-best 35 minutes against Evansville (Feb. 5). She was named the MVC Newcomer of the Week on Jan. 24 after averaging 14 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game. The freshman had a career-high 17 points in 14 minutes at Illinois State (Jan. 20).
Schuett Reaches 800, Ranks Third at CU
With 866 career rebounds, Sam Schuett is just the fourth player in school history and the 22nd player in MVC history to reach 800 career boards. She ranks third in school history in rebounding and is the active MVC leader in career rebounds, as she now ranks 15th in league history in rebounding.
Woodard Cracks Two Top Ten Lists
Kelsey Woodard has moved into the Creighton career top-10 in scoring and the MVC career top-10 for three-point field goals. Woodard’s 1,463 points stand alone in ninth place. Her 256 career three-pointers (which rank third in CU history) to start the MVC Tournament are tied for seventh in league history.
Home is Where the Wins Are
Creighton is 24-5 (.828) all-time at D.J. Sokol Arena, with a 12-2 record this year after posting a 12-3 home record last year. The Bluejays are now 96-30 (.762) at home under Jim Flanery (since 2002-03), including 64-17 (.790) in MVC play at home under Flanery. Creighton has won 35 of its last 42 home games, with two of those seven losses coming at Qwest Center Omaha.
Defense at D.J.
With a 12-2 mark in their home arena this year, the Bluejays are 24-5 all-time at D.J. Sokol Arena. In those 29 games, the Bluejays have allowed less than 60 points points 21 times – including 11 of 14 games this year. Bluejay opponents are averaging just 55.4 points per game in the 29 games played inside D.J. Sokol Arena, while the Jays are averaging 65.4 points per game in their new home venue.
Fast Start Leads to Nice Finish
Creighton scored a season-high 44 points in the first half of its 68-56 win over Missouri State (Jan. 27). The Jays led 44-23 at the break for their largest halftime lead of the season.
Kelsey Woodard poured in a season-high 25 points against Missouri State (Jan. 27), equalling the highest scoring game by a Bluejay over the past two seasons. Her 25 points also established a D.J. Sokol Arena high for a Bluejay. The senior drained 5-of-10 three-pointers in the win. Woodard has made five threes in a game three times this season and has now made at least five triples in a game 11 times in her career. She has scored 20 points in a game five times this season and 13 times in her career.
Creighton Values Its Possessions
Despite losing its starting point guard, Creighton remains among the NCAA elite in fewest turnovers per game. The Bluejays rank 31st in the NCAA this week, averaging 14.8 turnovers per game. In each of the previous two seasons, the Jays have also finished in the top-25 nationally in fewest turnovers per game, ranking 22nd last year and eighth during the 2008-09 season. The Jays committed a season-low six turnovers at South Dakota (Dec. 2), tied for the fewest committed under head coach Jim Flanery.
Give and Take
Taking hasn’t been a problem for freshman Carli Tritz this season, as she quickly established herself as one of the top defenders in the MVC – her 67 steals on the year lead the team and rank third in the league. But her giving has recently been on the rise, as evidenced by her career-high eight assists against Missouri State (Jan. 27). Tritz leads the team with 95 assists this season, but 64 of those assists have come in CU’s last 15 games. She is averaging 4.3 assists per game in her last 15, after dishing 31 assists through her first 14 games – 2.2 per contest.
Two Rookie Starters
Creighton has started two freshmen – Carli Tritz and Sarah Nelson – in the same game in eight games this season, marking the first time since the 2006-07 season that the Bluejays had started two freshmen in a game, as Megan Neuvirth and Sam Schuett were both starters in the 2007 MVC Tournament championship game at Drake. But it served as the first time under Jim Flanery that two true freshmen were in the starting lineup (Neuvirth was a redshirt in 2006-07). Prior to this season, the last time two true freshmen had started a game at Creighton was Feb. 11, 2001 when Dayna Finch and Christy Neneman started in a 77-52 home win over Illinois State.
Creighton played its first overtime game of the year and the first overtime game in D.J. Sokol Arena history in a 50-48 win over Wichita State on Jan. 29. The win moved Creighton to 12-7 in overtime games under Jim Flanery. The Jays have won their last four overtime games and won their last four overtime games in conference play.
Creighton posted a season-high 15 steals against Southern Illinois (Feb. 3), its most steals since in a game since March 5, 2009. DaNae Moore had a career-high five steals and Ally Jensen swiped a career-best four steals in the win, while seven Bluejays had at least one steal in the win. All 11 active Bluejays played at least 10 minutes in the blowout win.
In two games this season, a pair of Carli Tritz free throws late in the game have provided the winning margin for the Bluejays. Tritz not only made the game-winning free throws with 4.2 seconds left in overtime to give the Jays a 50-48 win over Wichita State (Jan. 29), but she also made the game-tying free throws with 11.5 seconds on the clock in regulation against the Shockers. In the second home game of her career, Tritz’s free throws with 14.3 seconds left lifted the Jays to a 63-61 win over now nationally-ranked Marquette (Nov. 28).
Leading vs. Losing
Creighton never trailed in its win over Southern Illinois on Feb. 3, the fourth time this season the Jays have not trailed in a home game. Of Creighton’s 24 wins at D.J. Sokol Arena, seven of them have come with the Bluejays never playing from behind. The Jays have won more games (7) where they have never trailed at their new home, than they have lost at D.J. Sokol Arena (5).
X-X First-Half Leads to X-X Finish
Creighton started MVC play with a 7-2 record for the third straight season. The Bluejays have now finished second or higher each of the last six times they have started conference play with a 7-2 mark. CU had an identical first and second-half MVC record in 2007-08 and 2008-09, but has not had a better second half record than first half since 2002-03 – its last regular-season championship.
MVC MVC MVC
Season 1st Half Overall Finish
2010-11 7-2 12-6 T-2nd
2009-10 7-2 13-5 2nd
2008-09 7-2 14-4 2nd
2007-08 6-3 12-6 4th
2006-07 5-4 8-10 6th
2005-06 4-5 5-13 T-9th
2004-05 8-1 13-5 T-2nd
2003-04 8-1 15-3 2nd
2002-03 6-3 13-5 T-1st
2001-02 8-1 16-2 1st
2000-01 5-4 11-7 4th
1999-00 4-5 7-11 6th
1998-99 5-4 9-9 7th
1997-98 7-2 11-7 3rd
1996-97 4-5 7-11 8th
1995-96 6-3 10-8 T-4th
1994-95 6-3 12-6 4th
1993-94 8-0 14-2 2nd
1992-93 7-1 12-4 T-2nd
Longest MVC Home Stand Since 1999
Creighton went a perfect 4-0 during its longest conference home stand since 1999, between Jan. 27 and Feb. 5. Prior to this year, the Jays last played four straight Valley games at home Jan. 21-31, 1999. Earlier this season, CU logged a four-game home stand which served as its longest since that 1999 stint.
Nelson, Tritz Make History
Not only have the freshman duo of Sarah Nelson and Carli Tritz started together in eight games this season, but the pair are the first set of Bluejays to win the MVC Newcomer of the Week award in the same season. Prior to this season, only Megan Neuvirth (2006-07) and Kelsey Woodard (2007-08) had won the award for the Bluejays – which started during the 2003-04 season.
Cold Weather Means Hot Basketball
Creighton went 6-2 in January to move its record to is 52-20 (.722) in January games under head coach Jim Flanery, by far his most successful month. The Jays are 32 games over .500 in January games under Flanery, while they are a combined 25 games over .500 in the other four months on the basketball calendar.
Creighton No. 17 in Mid-Major Top 25
Creighton has been ranked in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll all season and was ranked 17th in the most recent poll (March 1) available before these notes went to print. Missouri State was ranked 24th last week, marking the seventh Mid-Major Top 25 foe this year for CU – the Jays are 3-4 against the Mid-Major Top 25 this year. Illinois State was ranked in the poll during both of CU’s games with the Redbirds and Northern Iowa was ranked 16th when the Jays played at UNI (Feb. 10). CU topped then eighth-ranked Missouri State on Jan. 27. Two of CU’s first three games were against Mid-Major top-10 teams, as the Jays knocked off eighth-ranked Liberty and lost at fifth-ranked Bowling Green. Bowling Green was also receiving votes in the AP Top 25 and the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 to start the season. Creighton peaked with a No. 10 ranking in week nine.
Tritz is Tops
Carli Tritz is the leading scorer in the MVC among all freshmen and newcomers, averaging 11 points per game to rank 16th overall. Her 11.8 points per game in MVC games ranks 14th. The rookie ranks third in the MVC with 67 steals on the season. Against Bradley (Jan. 15) she was tops on the team with 17 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals one game after establishing career-highs with 10 rebounds against UNI (Jan. 13). She dished a career-high eight assists against Missouri State (Jan. 27).
The Kamphaus Dozen
Freshman Alyssa Kamphaus scored a career-high 12 points, making all five of her field goal attempts, while playing just seven minutes in her MVC debut at Evansville (Jan. 6). Included in the five makes for the rookie center, was what she claims to be the first three-pointer she has ever made in a game in her life.
Garrison Makes Debut
Freshman guard Jordan Garrison did not play in Creighton’s first 12 games, after not dressing for the first 11 because of a stress fracture in her left leg. She dressed, but did not play, against Drake (Dec. 31), before finally making her collegiate debut at Evansville (Jan. 6). The rookie misfired on her first three-point attempt but knocked down her second try for her first career points.
Tritz MVC Debut, Second to One
Carli Tritz scored 15 points in her MVC debut against Drake on Dec. 31. The 15 points in her MVC debut mark the second highest scoring game by a Bluejay in her first Valley game in school history. The only other Bluejay rookie to score more in an MVC debut was Missy Miller with 23 points on Jan. 7, 1993 in Creighton’s first ever MVC game. Freshman Becky Flynn also scored 14 points in that same game in 1993, while Laura Spanheimer scored 14 points against SIU on Dec. 30, 2001 in her first Valley game. Tritz also grabbed six rebounds and five steals against Drake.
Non-Con Strength of Schedule is Tops
As it annually does, Creighton again played the strongest non-conference schedule in the MVC. Through non-conference games played on Dec. 28, the Bluejays’ strength of schedule (SOS) was 39. Only one other school in the MVC had an SOS of better than 131 – Missouri State’s 88. In fact, the other nine teams in the MVC had an average SOS of 182 – 143 spots lower than Creighton’s.
Carli Doesn’t Play for You
Carli Tritz ranks third in the MVC with 67 steals this year and swiped at least one steal in each of her first 16 career games and has led the team in steals in 16 games. Tritz swiped a career-high six steals at Indiana State (Jan. 22). She topped the team with five steals against Marquette (Nov. 28) and Drake (Dec. 31), becoming the first Bluejay freshman to record five steals in a game since Megan Neuvirth had five in the 2007 MVC Tournament championship game against Drake.
Woodard Named MVC Player of the Week
Kelsey Woodard was named the MVC Player of the Week on Dec. 27 after her performances against North Dakota and Kansas. Woodard averaged 20 points and 3.0 assists per game, making 50 percent of her field goals (14-28) and three-pointers (5-10) in the two contests. It was her second career Player of the Week honor, and first since Feb. 4, 2008.
Bluejays Establish Highs
Creighton enjoyed its highest scoring game in more than seven years on Dec. 20, cruising to a 96-57 win over North Dakota. The 96 points were the most scored by the Jays since winning 96-86 at Siena on March 22, 2003. In addition to the season-high point total, the Jays also put up season-highs in field goals (33), field-goal percentage (.611), three-pointers (12), assists (24), blocked shots (9) and points in the paint (40). CU’s 96 points, 33 field goals and 55 points in a half (2nd) all established D.J. Sokol Arena records as well.
In addition to the multiple team season-best numbers against North Dakota (Dec. 20), several individuals also set career highs in the win. McKenzie Fujan scored a career-best nine points, making 4-of-6 shots. Jasmin Corbin led the team with a career-high five assists.
Scoring in the 90s
Creighton’s 96 points in its win over North Dakota (Dec. 20) were the most points scored by the Bluejays in a game since a 96-86 win at Siena on March 22, 2003 in the WNIT. It was the first time the Jays had scored 90 points since a 92-63 win over Missouri State on Jan. 8, 2009. The Jays improved to 8-0 when scoring at least 90 points under Jim Flanery.
If the Schuett Fits
Sam Schuett joined some elite groups of players during Creighton’s game with Nebraska (Dec. 8), becoming the 23rd player in school history to surpass 1,000 career points and the seventh player to reach 700 career rebounds. She is the fourth CU player to have both 1,000 points and 800 rebounds in a career.
Kelsey Can Shoot
Kelsey Woodard is one of 23 players in school history with 1,000 career points. Woodard is the second-most accurate free-throw shooter in school history (.855), trailing only her sister Kristi (.862) in that category. She is ranked third in school history and seventh in league history with 256 career three-pointers.
Flan Schedules the Big Boys (or Girls)
With Creighton’s win over Marquette on Nov. 28, head coach Jim Flanery now has twice as many wins against BCS schools than the next closest MVC school since his first campaign in 2002-03. Flanery’s 18 wins against BCS schools in that span are twice as many as Drake (9). In fact, Flan has more wins against BCS schools in that span than Bradley has games played (16) against BCS schools. His 18 wins also equal the number of games played by Evansville, Indiana State and Wichita State against BCS schools in that same span. Creighton’s has played 60 games against BCS programs since 2002-03, the next closest MVC school is Drake, which has played 38 games in the same span.
MVC vs. BCS since 2002-03
School Games Wins
Creighton 60 18
Drake 38 9
Illinois State 26 8
Missouri State 29 7
Indiana State 18 6
Northern Iowa 34 4
Wichita State 18 4
Evansville 18 3
Bradley 16 2
Southern Illinois 21 0
Tritz or Treat
Freshman Carli Tritz scored a game-high 21 points against Nebraska (Dec. 8) to become the first Bluejay rookie with a 20-point game since Kelsey Woodard scored 29 against South Dakota State on March 20, 2008. Tritz scored at least 10 points in four straight games (Nov. 20 - Dec. 8), the longest streak by a CU freshman since Sam Schuett scored 10+ points in five straight in 2007. The guard made 4-of-6 three-pointers against Nebraska.
Home Winning Streak Snapped
Creighton’s loss to Nebraska (Dec. 8) snapped its nine-game home winning streak – the Bluejays’ longest since winning 23 straight at home between the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons.
Creighton’s bench out-scored the opponent’s bench in 10 of its first 11 non-conference games and before its game at No. 18 Notre Dame (Dec. 11), the bench had out-scored the opponent’s bench in each of its first seven games. The Irish reserves out-scored CU’s bench 34-11. Before that game, the CU bench had out-scored opponents 170-84, highlighted by a 22-0 edge against Marquette (Nov. 28).
Low Scoring Win
Creighton defeated Liberty 40-35 to open the season at the Sheraton Raleigh Wolfpack Invitational on Nov. 12. The 40 points were the fewest scored by the Bluejays in a win since a 40-23 victory over Doane College (Neb.) on Feb. 21, 1977 and the fewest scored overall by the Jays since a 50-35 loss to Eastern Michigan on Dec. 21, 2000. The 35 points for Liberty where the fewest it had scored in a game since Dec. 29, 1993.
Sarah’s Solid Start
Freshman Sarah Nelson led the Bluejays with 14 points and 10 rebounds against North Carolina State (Nov. 13). The double-double was the first by a Bluejay freshman since Kelsey Woodard logged her only career double-dime on Jan. 6, 2008 against Missouri State. The rookie led the team in rebounding in three of CU’s five games and earned her first career start against North Dakota State on Dec. 18.
Woodard Named All-Tournament Team
Kelsey Woodard led the Bluejays with 10 points per game at the Sheraton Raleigh Wolfpack Invitational, earning her all-tournament recognition at the event. Against Liberty, she drained three three-pointers in the second half to account for all nine of her points and to help CU come from behind and win. She added two more threes and 11 points in the championship game against North Carolina State.
Schuett Lowe’s Senior CLASS Candidate
Sam Schuett has been named one of 30 candidates nationally for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award which honors seniors for their efforts on and off the court. CLASS stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School and to be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in community, classroom, character and competition. Schuett graduated magna cum laude with a degree in accounting in May, has served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, ranked 12th among CU’s 232 student-athletes in community service hours last year and is a first-team all-conference player on the court.
Flock of Freshmen
Half of the Creighton roster is made up of freshmen this season. The six-member freshman class equals the largest rookie class in the nine-year tenure of head coach Jim Flanery, as the 2005-06 team also had six freshmen. All six Bluejay rookies this season are on scholarship, marking the first time since the 1997-98 season that Creighton has at least six freshman on scholarship.
Creighton’s Sister Act
One of Creighton’s six freshmen is Sarah Nelson, younger sister of Bluejay senior Kellie Nelson, continuing a recent trend of sisters playing for the Jays. Current senior Kelsey Woodard followed in the footsteps of older sister Kristi (2002-06), while Laura (2001-05) and Krissie (1997-01) Spanheimer also had a family tradition at Creighton. The Nelsons however, are just the second recorded sister duo to play alongside each other at Creighton, joining Peggy and Patty Bierle in 1978-79.
Norman to Redshirt
Freshman forward Riley Norman will take a medical redshirt this season after suffering a torn right ACL during preseason work outs. The rookie had surgery on Oct. 18 to repair the knee, which she also injured at the end of her senior year of high school.
For the fourth consecutive season, at least half of Creighton’s roster is from Nebraska. Last year the Bluejays started five Nebraskans in 29 of their 32 games, marking the first time in recorded history the Jays had an all-Nebraska lineup in one game - let alone 29. Seven of Creighton’s 12 players on this year’s roster are from Nebraska – Omaha products Jasmin Corbin (Millard West), Kellie Nelson (Westside), Sarah Nelson (Westside) and Sam Schuett (Millard West), Bellevue native Kelsey Woodard (Bellevue West), Seward High graduate Alyssa Kamphaus and Weston native by way of Wahoo Bishop Neumann, McKenzie Fujan.
Updated & Extended Coverage
Fans will notice Creighton home games not only have a new live stats platform, but will also benefit from Creighton’s change to BCS Stats. The new live stats provider allows fans to follow the live action on their mobile device at www.gocreightonstats.com. Fans can also find more info on Bluejay athletics on Facebook at the “Official Creighton Athletics Page” and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gocreighton. The women’s basketball team also has its own Facebook page, with inside glimpses into the program. Fans can also read assistant coach Carrie Moore’s blog “Tuesdays With Moore” each Tuesday on www.gocreighton.com.