Game 31 at Northwestern • Thursday, March 17 • 7:00 p.m. WNIT First Round Creighton Bluejays at Northwestern Wildcats Welsh-Ryan Arena • Evanston, Ill. Links: Audio (1180 AM) | Live Stats | Live Video
Series History: Creighton leads 3-2 Last Meeting: NU won 93-77, Nov. 19, 2005, in Evanston
• The game can be heard on KOIL AM 1180 in Omaha and online at www.koilam1180.com. Rob Simms will call the action.
• Live stats for this game can be found on the CU athletics website at www.gocreighton.com. Free live video will be provided by Northwestern and the link is available on www.gocreighton.com.
• Creighton is appearing in its fourth consecutive WNIT, its seventh in nine seasons and its ninth overall.
• Creighton is one of three teams to appear in each of the last four WNITs, joining Kansas and Florida Gulf Coast. Only Creighton and Charlotte have appeared in seven of the last nine postseason WNITs.
• Creighton is 13-7 all-time in the WNIT, including 11-5 under Flanery. The Bluejays won the WNIT in 2004 and advanced to the Final Four in 2003.
• The Bluejays enter the WNIT on a four-game losing streak, their longest since 2006-07 and longest in a winning season since 2000-01.
• Creighton’s current roster shoots a combined 53.8 percent (35-65) from three-point range and 48. percent (65-135) from the field in WNIT games.
• CU ranked 12th in the NCAA with just 14.1 turnovers per game through Feb. 24, but has averaged 20.8 turnovers in its last four games.
• MVC Freshman of the Year Carli Tritz needs just three assists to become the third freshman in school history with 100 assists in a season.
Scouting the Bluejays Creighton finished second or better in the MVC for the sixth time in head coach Jim Flanery’s nine seasons, tying for second-place, and is appearing in its seventh WNIT in Flanery’s first nine seasons. After winning eight of nine games, the Bluejays enter the WNIT on a four-game losing streak.
The Bluejays played the strongest non-conference schedule in the MVC, earning the best MVC win of the season, a 63-31 win over now nationally-ranked Marquette (Nov. 28). Seven of CU’s 11 non-conference foes are playing in the postseason and CU’s strength of schedule following non-conference action was 39.
Creighton posted a 12-3 record at home this season, but the Bluejays are just 6-9 away from home, with losses at No. 18 Notre Dame, ACC foe North Carolina State and MAC Champion Bowling Green.
The Jays are led by first-team all-MVC guard Kelsey Woodard. The senior is averaging a career-best 13 points per game and tops the team with 66 three-pointers. Woodard’s 259 career three-pointers rank third in CU history and sixth in league history, while her 1,472 points rank ninth in school history. Fifth-year senior Sam Schuett (10.5 ppg) leads the team with 7.3 rebounds per game. Schuett, a second-team all-MVC honoree, ranks third in school history with 872 career rebounds.
MVC Freshman of the Year Carli Tritz tops the team with 97 assists and 67 steals and is the top-scoring freshman in the MVC, averaging 11.3 points per game. Fellow MVC All-Freshman Team member Sarah Nelson (7.4 ppg) ranks second on the team in rebounds and blocked shots.
Scouting the Wildcats Northwestern finished eighth in the Big Ten this season with a 6-10 league mark ... The Wildcats are 18-13 overall, including 12-4 at home and 8-0 at home in non-conference play ... NU lost to top-seed Michigan State 56-25 in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on March 4 ... NU averages 65.7 points, allows 64.8, shoots 42 percent from the field and 32.6 percent from three-point range ... The Wildcats average 37.1 rebounds per game with a plus-0.5 rebounding margin ... NU ranks 15th in the NCAA with 16.6 assists per game, 21st with 4.9 blocked shots per game and 25th in free throw percentage (.749) ... Amy Jaeschke, a finalist for the Wooden Award, is an All-Big Ten First-Team and All-Big Ten Defensive Team honoree ... She leads NU with 9.0 rebounds per game, ranks 12th in the NCAA with 21.6 points per game and her 3.2 blocks per game rank sixth in the NCAA ... Kendall Hackney (11.3 p, 5.1 r) and Beth Marshall (10.1 p, 4.2 a) were honorable mention all-Big Ten winners ... Marshall leads NU with 54 three-pointers ... NU has made almost as many free throws as Creighton has attempted this year, the Wildcats are 450-601 (.749) at the free throw line, compared to 322-469 (.687) for the Bluejays ... NU has four players that have made more free throws than CU’s FT leader ... NU has assists on 72.8 percent of its field goals.
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 seven WNIT postseason appearances and five 20-win seasons. He owns a career record of 170-115 (.596), 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. Flanery is 1-2 against Northwestern, 5-10 against Big Ten opponents and 11-5 in the WNIT.
Creighton-Northwestern Series Creighton is 3-2 in the all-time series with Northwestern, with all five meetings coming since 1999. The Jays are 1-2 all-time in Evanston, losing their last two trips – the 2003 and 2005 season-openers. CU lost 93-77 to NU on Nov. 19, 2005, in Evanston the last time these teams met. The Bluejays are 1-2 against the Wildcats under Jim Flanery, with CU’s last win in the series coming in Omaha on Nov. 19, 2004 in the season-opener. CU’s only win at Welsh-Ryan Arena came on Dec. 21, 1999, a 64-53 final.
Battling the Big Ten Creighton is 5-10 against Big Ten teams under head coach Jim Flanery, but the Bluejays have not played a Big Ten opponent since losing to Iowa 75-69 on Nov. 26, 2006. The Jays have lost seven straight games against Big Ten foes, last winning against Northwestern on Nov. 19, 2004. CU is 1-1 against the Big Ten in the WNIT, with a win at Iowa in 2003 and loss at Iowa in 2005. CU is 2-7 on the road against the Big Ten under Flanery, both wins coming at Iowa. CU vs. Big Ten since 2002-03: Iowa (3-4), Michigan (1-1), Minnesota (0-3), Northwestern (1-2).
And the Winner Has ... The winner between Creighton and Northwestern will advance to face the winner of Thursday’s Alabama (16-14) at Memphis (21-12) game. Date, time and location of the second round game will be determined following Thursday’s games. Creighton is 3-0 all-time against Memphis and is 0-1 against Alabama.
We’re Back Creighton, the 2004 postseason WNIT Champion, is appearing in the WNIT for the ninth time in school history, the seventh time since 2003 and for the fourth straight season. The Jays have won their first game in the WNIT six times in their previous eight appearances and been one-and-done twice. The Bluejays are 6-5 in true road WNIT games, losing their last three WNIT games on the road. See results below.
Creighton in the WNIT (13-7) 3-21-10 at Kansas L, 68-71 3-19-10 Stephen F. Austin W, 76-65 3-23-09 at Kansas L, 64-79 3-21-09 UC Riverside W, 64-51 3-24-08 at Marquette L, 69-75 (OT) 3-20-08 at South Dakota State W, 76-69 3-18-05 at Iowa L, 52-67 3-30-04 UNLV W, 73-52 3-27-04 Richmond W, 81-72 3-24-04 Oregon State W, 74-64 3-21-04 at Washington W, 74-69 3-19-04 at Colorado State W, 79-68 3-31-03 Auburn L, 62-73 3-25-03 at Iowa W, 70-64 3-22-03 at Siena W, 96-86 3-20-03 at Maine W, 74-67 3-11-99 at Kansas State L, 60-71 3-21-87 Providence* W, 91-89 3-20-87 California* L, 82-86 3-19-87 Stephen F. Austin* W, 76-68 * at Amarillo, Texas; Home games in Bold
Postseason Regulars With its strong non-conference scheduling philosophy and consistent success in MVC play, the Bluejays have become postseason regulars. The Jays are appearing in their eighth postseason in the last 10 years, making the 2002 NCAA Tournament before advancing to seven of the last nine WNITs. Creighton and Charlotte are the only two teams to have appeared in at least seven of the last nine WNITs, while Creighton, Kansas and Florida Gulf Coast are the only teams to play in each of the last four postseason WNITs.
Bluejays in the WNIT • As a team, all active players for the Bluejays have combined to shoot 53.8 percent (35-65) from three-point range and 48.1 percent (65-135) from the field in the WNIT over the past three seasons. • Kelsey Woodard has achieved success playing in the WNIT during her career. In her first WNIT game as a freshman, she scored a career-high 29 points, making her first 10 field goal attempts, before finishing 11-of-14 from the field at South Dakota State. She averages 14.8 points per game in six career WNIT contests, shooting 54.5 percent (18-33) from three-point range, 46 percent (29-63) from the floor and 92.9 percent (13-14) at the free throw line. • Sam Schuett has played in the 2008 and 2010 WNIT, averaging 11.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. She hit 5-of-7 three-pointers at Kansas last year and is 10-of-16 (.625) from long range and 17-of-30 (.567) from the field in four WNIT games. • Kellie Nelson is 10-of-20 (.500) from the field, averaging 3.7 points and 3.0 rebounds in six career WNIT games. • Ally Jensen scored 13 points in her WNIT debut last year against Stephen F. Austin and is 5-for-11 (.455) from three-point range in two career WNIT games.
Flan in the Postseason Head Coach Jim Flanery has now guided seven of his first nine teams to the postseason WNIT and is 11-5 in the event . The Jays went 3-1 in the 2003 WNIT, advancing to the Final Four. In 2004, the Bluejays went 5-0 and captured the WNIT title. The 2005 Bluejays lost their first round game, while the 2008 team went 1-1 on the road in the event, falling to eventual champion Marquette in overtime in the second round after a come-from-behind win at South Dakota State in the first round. The Jays posted 1-1 marks in the WNIT in both 2009 and 2010.
Losing Streaks are Unusual Creighton enters the WNIT on a four-game losing streak – its longest losing skid since dropping the first seven games of the 2006-07 season. The three-game skid in MVC regular-season play was CU’s longest since January 2008. The Bluejays had not lost four straight games in a winning season since 2000-01 and have never five straight games during a winning season. CU has not lost five straight games to end a season since 1989.
March Happiness – Not Madness The Bluejays are 0-2 in March this season, as they are looking to avoid just their second losing record in March since 2001-02. Since 2001-02, the Bluejays’ only losing record in March was 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 33-20 (.623) all-time in March under Jim Flanery. The Jays have not had a winless March since going 0-3 in 2001.
All-Conference Honorees • Kelsey Woodard, MVC First-Team – the senior is averaging a career-high 13 points per game this year and ranks third in the MVC with 66 three-pointers made. She ranks third in CU history and sixth in MVC history with 259 career three-pointers made. • Sam Schuett, MVC Second-Team, MVC All-Defensive Team – the senior leads the team and ranks fifth in the MVC with 7.3 rebounds per game, while adding 10.5 points per game and a career-high 86 assists this season. • Carli Tritz, MVC Honorable Mention, MVC Freshman of the Year, MVC All-Freshman Team – the rookie became just the third Bluejay to win MVC Freshman of the Year honors after she set a league record by earning MVC Newcomer of the Week honors nine times this season. She leads all MVC newcomers in scoring, steals, field-goal percentage and assist-turnover ratio and tops the team with 97 assists and 67 steals. • Sarah Nelson, MVC All-Freshman Team – the rookie forward averages 7.4 points per game and ranks second on the team with 4.5 rebounds per game and 27 blocked shots. Nelson and Tritz are the first Bluejay duo to appear on the MVC All-Freshman Team together and just the second set of MVC teammates on the list in the last six years.
Smart Birds Sam Schuett and Kelsey Woodard were named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team as announced by the league office on last week, 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.
Helping Hands Creighton led the MVC with 260 assists in conference play – 14.4 per game. The Bluejays’ 14.2 assists per game on the season now rank second in the league.
Tritz Approaching 100 Assists & History Carli Tritz enters the WNIT with a team-leading 97 assists this season. With three 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.
Holy Schuett Sam Schuett notched the 100th block of her career at Missouri State (Feb. 25), moving her into select company with 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. She is one of six players in school history to reach 100 blocked shots.
Turnover Troubles 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 four-game losing streak, the Bluejays are averaging 20.8 turnovers per game. Perhaps even more troubling, is the turnover margin during CU’s skid is minus-7.7, as Bluejay opponents are averaging only 13 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
The Kellie Connection Senior center Kellie Nelson has averaged only 14 minutes per game in her last five contests after she missed three games with a stress reaction in her left leg (Feb. 10-17). Since Nelson’s injury, the Bluejays have been out-scored 230-176 in the paint, including 130-74 during their four-game losing streak.
I’ll Take 3-Pointers for 200 Alex Creighton enters the WNIT with 195 three-pointers made this season, just five 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.
Good and Bad Creighton enters the WNIT on a four-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 20.8 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 averaged 27.3 points per game during its three-game winning streak (Feb. 12-19). The Jays are averaging just 13.8 points per game off the bench during their four-game skid. • In all four games of the losing streak, Creighton has been out-scored in points off of turnovers (80-52 total), following a streak of six straight games during which the Jays scored more points off turnovers (109-60 total) than their opponent.
Block Party 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. The Bluejays have blocked 126 shots this season, just four shy of the school record 130 set by the 2004-05 team.
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 ranks third in school history and sixth in MVC history with 259 career three-pointers. Woodard has now played in 129 games in her career, ranked second in school history behind only Megan Neuvirth’s 130.
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 20 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 32-3 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).
20-20-20-20 Vision 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.
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).
Threes Fallin 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 third in the MVC, averaging 6.5 three-pointers per game, but they are averaging 7.6 three-pointers per game over their last seven 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. Both players were named to the MVC All-Freshmen Team – the first Bluejay pair to win the honor in the same year – and Tritz was tabbed the MVC Freshman of the Year.
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).
70-70-70 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.
Hot Shooting 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.
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
Big Wins Eight of Creighton’s 12 MVC wins this season were 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
Schuett Reaches 800, Ranks Third at CU With 872 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, ranking 15th in league history in rebounding.
Woodard Cracks 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 1,472 points stand alone in ninth place. Her 259 career three-pointers rank third in school history and sixth 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.
Woodard Wows 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 34th in the NCAA this week, averaging 15 turnovers per game. In each of the previous two seasons, the Jays have 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 risen over the last half of the season, as evidenced by her career-high eight assists against Missouri State (Jan. 27). Tritz leads the team with 97 assists this season, but 67 of those assists have come in CU’s last 16 games. She is averaging 4.3 assists per game in her last 16, 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.
Working Overtime 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.
Balanced Attack 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.
Carli’s Clutch 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).
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 23 games over .500 in the other four months on the basketball calendar.
Creighton in Mid-Major Top 25 Creighton has been ranked in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll all season and was ranked 20th in the most recent poll (March 8) available before these notes went to print. Creighton played seven games against teams in the Mid-Major Top 25 this season, including five games against MVC teams. The Jays also played Bowling Green and Liberty early in the season while both squads were ranked in the top-10. 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 11.3 points per game to rank 16th overall. Her 11.8 points per game in MVC games ranked 14th. The rookie is 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.
Individual Highs 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 and one of only two players with 1,000 points, 800 boards and 100 blocked shots.
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 sixth in league history with 259 career three-pointers.
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.
Bench Impressed 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.
Nebraska Natives 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.