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arah Nelson offers the 14th edition of the 2012-13 "Tuesdays with Bluejays"
Courtesy: Eric Francis

Tuesdays with the Bluejays, Sarah Nelson

January 15, 2013
Junior Sarah Nelson

Hey Bluejay Fans!          
 
Having to follow up Bri’s blog from last week has to be one of the hardest things to do. Her blog was so great and it was awesome to get to read about her opinion about our team. Bri puts in a lot of extra work before practice, after practice and even on the road. We are really proud of her and how far she has come already! Watch out everyone because next year Bri is going to be a threat down low! Trust me…I would know because she blocks me at least a few times every practice!
 
I am so proud of how our other two freshmen are doing as well and how far they have come. Being a freshman is not easy at all! The first time Flan yells at you is a very scary thing. Obviously Marissa is doing a great job and I am jealous of how confident she is going into certain game situations. As a freshman, I used to think the ball was a hot potato and I did NOT want it in my hands, so it’s really nice to have a freshman that is not afraid to take over.

Even though Tessa does not get a ton of minutes, I absolutely love to play with her because of how hard she is willing to work. When she gets into a game, she is so productive because she does such as great job of taking care of the ball and playing good defense. When she scored in the Illinois State game this past weekend, our team cheered louder than we have all season! It is so great to see someone work so hard get a chance to shine!
 
Coming home after spending almost a month on the road had to be one of the best feelings ever! The fact that we had two of the most enjoyable crowds ever is a testament to how awesome our fans are. We truly have a home court advantage when the crowd gets going and I’m sure opposing teams find DJ Sokol Arena a hard place to come visit. Thanks to all of you loyal and new Bluejay fans for making these wins this past weekend possible! We love all of you and thank you for all of the support!
 
As we go into this important weekend at Wichita State and Missouri State, we look to keep playing together as a team. Every single person on our team is a threat on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. It is definitely nice as a post player to know that you have three great shooters on the floor to kick to at any given time. If someone is having an off night, another person is always there to step up and play the role they need to play. As long as we work hard and do all of the little things, I believe that we will keep succeeding in our quest for a Valley Championship!
 
Hope to see you guys again at games soon! Go Jays!
 
Sarah Nelson
 
PS - Unfortunately, school starts again this week. I for one am really not excited to be getting back into the class rotation (sorry Mom) and not getting delicious meals from restaurants all over Omaha.


January 8, 2013
Freshman Brianna Rollerson

 

I would just like to start off by saying how amazing my freshman year has gone so far. Even though I am a home town kid, I was a little worried about leaving home and having to function on my own. It is alot better than I thought it would be.


Living in the dorms there is never a dull moment and I have gotten very close with the girls on my floor. We hangout every night in the community area, just talking about random stuff and have good laughs. I'm never late to class because everything is right there. The dining hall is about five steps away from me so I never have to worry about missing a meal. I guess you could say Im just living the dream. I love it!


Basketball is going pretty great to. Being a redshirt gets tough sometimes because I work out alot and know I wont get to play for a year, but I feel my self getting better every day. So hopefully I'm ready for next year. There are only two downsides about being a redshirt, one is not being able to play in the games and the other is having to do treadmill workouts in the hotel. Other than those two things, being a redshirt has been a really good learning and growing process for me. Even though I don't get to play just being able to practice, be around my team, and getting to cheer them all on, is not half bad. 


We have had some really big games and some really good wins. The game that I think was the most fun to watch and cheer for was the Nebraksa game. We played really well as a team and came even closer together just fighting for the W. It being a state rivalry made the victory that much sweeter.  That win also kept Coach Flan a lot happier at practice.


My favorite thing about this year has got to be the trip to Cancun. I had alot of firsts on that trip. It was my first time leaving the country. It was my first time snorkling, which was much cooler than I thought it would be. Once they got me in the water, I didn't want to get out. I will admit when I was snorkling I would get a little carried away and put my head to far under so water would get in my snorkel and I would choke. It was just so interesting that I couldn't help it. I also zip lined for the 1st time. Zip lining is fun until you have to swim all the way back to the rock to get out of the water. Swimming is a tough workout! Another scary thing we did was jump off of a 20 feet high cliff. At first I didn't want to jump in, but my whole team did it so I figured it was safe. I'm still alive so it wasn't that bad. We took full advantage of the room service because the food there was so good. On top of all the fun that we had, we went 2-0 which put the icing on the trip. That trip was pretty much perfect.


Last but not least, I had to mention my wonderful teammates.  They welcomed me on the the team with open arms. They are all so funny and fun to be around. Carli sings none stop even though she doesn't have the best pitch.  Kenz and Ally both gave me the best nicknames (bribri and bron).  Kamp is whipping me into shape and getting me ready for next year. Marrissa is representing for the freshman.  Tessa is my soon to be roommate.  Lex has introduced me into her christian rap music, its actually pretty good. Sam is always making me laugh when were on the road. TJ, Riley, Jaz and I are all apart of this little society called the bench mob. We are the teams cheering sections. We get pretty roudy during the games! Jordan of course is always laughing at me, and when I say always I mean ALWAYS. We gave Sarah the nickname hybrid because shes good at everthing! All of my teammates are special in there own ways. They each mean alot to me and make me realize: I couldn't imagine life on any team but this one.

Go Jays!


January 1, 2013
Junior Carli Tritz

 

Hello my fellow Bluejays,

 

It’s been a while since the last blog so we have some catching up to do. Since the last time you’ve heard from one of us, our team has been to Cancun and back, to our homes and back for Christmas, to the frozen tundra in Minnesota and back, and in a few days we are starting Missouri Valley Conference play.

A lot has happened in December that has really shaped this team and prepared us for a good conference run. But first, let’s recap Cancun and Minnesota before we look ahead.

Cancun was seriously awesome! And I’m not just talking about the perfect weather and the amazing guacamole (though, those were tough to beat). For us to go down there and not only play good teams and win, but to get better, was the icing on the cake. Since our two games (against Miami-Ohio and South Florida) were at the end of the week, we had plenty of time for excursions. Swimming with the dolphins, zip lining, cliff jumping, and snorkeling were just a few activities we did to pass the time. This trip was so much fun because our team grew closer together just within those 5 days. Granted, some of it was forced since really no one had there phones to speak to any outside sources, but still...lots of great memories were made and winning two games always makes everyone a little bit happier, right?

That paragraph probably didn’t do justice to how fantastic Cancun was, but I didn’t want to make you guys even more jealous, so I’ll end it there. And plus, some things were just too awesome to attempt to describe anyways (like Huber’s dancing and karaoke just to name a few). 

Okay, so I know what is supposed to come next. A paragraph explaining our loss to Minnesota this past Saturday. I think I am supposed to talk about how it was a “learning experience” and “we gained a lot from that loss and really grew as a team.” Well, I have said those things before about previous games against Nebraska, Kansas, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, etc…Those quotes were probably true for those games, but this is different.

This game was a punch to the gut. Exhausting and emotional. We had played nearly perfect for 30 or so minutes, and then all of a sudden we’re in a bind in the second overtime down by six. One of the weirdest games I have ever played in. We talked after the game how there is still a lot we could’ve done as a team and staff to close out the game, but sometimes when a player scores 39 points and a team gets a little confidence, you can find yourself on the losing end of a battle like that.

I remember saying to myself minutes after the game was over, “So, this is what BYU felt like.” And I remember how I never want to feel like that again. Stupid karma.

Then again, maybe this loss was the punch to the gut that we needed. After coming off a hot streak of tough wins, we forgot that bitter taste of defeat. Now, this team going into MVC play is an extremely motivated team with a lot to prove that just got a brand new fire lit under its butt. We just gained extra motivation to go on a tear through conference.

We should’ve won that game. We should’ve, could’ve, would’ve, ifs, ands, buts…but we didn’t. And that’s why that trip to Minnesota is going to fuel the next 3 months. Back to 0-0. New season. New motivation. This team is ready to explode. It all starts in Carbondale on Thursday…         

-Carli

December 18, 2012
Freshman Tessa Leytem

Jays Fans,

I have officially completed my first semester of college! Looking back, it is crazy how fast it went by. We have all heard the phrase, “Time flies when you’re having fun,” (and I definitely had fun!) but I would also have to say that time flies when you’re busy. Coming into the semester, I sat down with Sara Cain (the best, most organized director of operations around) to figure out how to fit in my classes along with 10 hours of study hall and basketball work outs. Looking at it on paper….I was very overwhelmed. As everyone says though, freshman year is all about adjusting, and by October I was well accustomed to my new busy schedule.

Figuring how to manage my time was not the only thing I learned over the past 5 months. From a school stand point, I learned there’s not nearly as much homework! But don’t get too excited young ones. In college, professors simply expect that you do the work even though a grade is not given for it. And that work is completely necessary if you are looking to get a good grade.

The learning continued into the most fun thing about college so far…basketball! I learned to double, no, triple check your bag to make sure you have all uniforms, practice gear, and shoes for away trips. I have not forgotten anything yet, but that’s definitely not something I want to happen! And I learned to always be ready for practice/meetings/departure at least 10 minutes before the set time.

Looking back at this past semester though, the thing that sticks out to me the most is how lucky I am to be at Creighton and playing basketball. All of the opportunities I have gotten and continue to receive because of being here are unreal. Getting to play top competition such as Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas is such a great experience, and getting wins over those top teams makes it even better! We are now the 5th ranked mid-major in the country. How awesome is that? And with our 20 point win over North Dakota State, Flan is now tied for the most wins in Creighton history. Need I say more? As Bri Roll would say, being a part of this program is “fantastic.”

Wait…there is more I can say. Today we are taking off for Cancun!! As many of you may know, we have been counting down the days to this trip for quite some time and we are more than excited that it is finally here. The itinerary includes laying on the beach, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, and of course taking advantage of the all-inclusive food and drink at the resort. We are going to have plenty of fun, that is for sure! Nonetheless, we are also very focused on getting two more wins. We will take on the Miami-Ohio RedHawks on the 21st followed by South Florida Bulls on the 22nd. Both will be tough games, but I’m sure we’ll be prepared to get the wins on both of them!

We will be sure to not forget about those of you stuck in the chilly weather of the Midwest while were away. 80 degrees and sunny isn’t that great, right? :)

Go Jays!

Tessa




December 11, 2012

Junior McKenzie Fujan

"Expect problems and eat them for breakfast."Alfred A. Montapert                   

I think this quote explains our basketball team in more ways than one.  For starters, we love to eat.  So much so that I am 100% certain that if we did not play basketball everyday, each and every one of us would be exponentially…wider (especially myself).

But this quote has much more relevance than just our big girl status.  If any of you reading this have watched a game of ours other than the Nebraska win, you would understand that we have already seen our fair share of problems.  Each of our games has come with at least one half of less than par play. 

One of the things I love most about this team, besides the fact that I am not afraid to be 100% myself around each of my teammates, is our ability to fight back from the problems that we expect to come our way.  I have never been on a team that is more willing to learn.  Learn from the good and learn from the bad. All of this learning and growing we have been doing has already paid off. 

We had an amazing week last week.  Not only did freshman Marissa Janning earn her 2nd consecutive Newcomer of the Week status, we beat our (ranked) in-state rival, AND were named ESPN’s Women’s Basketball Team of the Week! 

I’m not one to point out the obvious but our only losses are to two Top 25 ranked teams.  Everyone always asks how we feel about playing against such tough non-conference opponents and my answer is always the same: We love it. 

Sometimes it can be more of a love/hate relationship, but in the end we always love it.  We love that our loss to No. 12 Oklahoma taught us that we might be picked to win our conference, but we still have so much room to improve and become a stronger team.  We love that our loss to No. 21 Kansas taught us that after a 1st half of us playing weak and scared, we were able to pull our heads out of our gluteus maximus and find a way to fight back from a deficit of as much as 19 points to pull within six points with a minute left in regulation.

A loss is a loss, which we understand.  But we also understand that even though a loss will never be a win, it can absolutely be a gain.  From each of our losses we gained so much more than we would have if we had won those games.  The only major thing I can think of that we could have gained from winning those two games would have been a little bit of confidence…but that’s what our other five wins are for. :)

With that being said, we still love winning.  And speaking of winning (knock on wood), we hope to see you Sunday the 16th at 2:05 pm for our last home game (against North Dakota State) before CANCUN!!! :) :) :)

I’ll leave you with my new favorite twitter trend,#jaysfordays

-McKenzie


December 4, 2012
Sophomore Alexis Akin-Otiko

 

This past week has been a crazy one!

 

We are well into the season and now games are starting to fly by. However this past Wednesday we were stopped in our tracks and forced to stand still for a while.

 

I am blessed and thank God everyday to be able to play college basketball and enjoy all of the unique opportunities that come along with it. If I never played basketball, I would have never been able to step outside of the Midwest. Traveling all over is a luxury that I will never take for granted, especially when we traveled to Salt Lake City. The BYU game was definitely an adventure, we went from being down by 18 points to a thrilling 65-62 win in overtime.

 

The light-headedness of the Utah elevation, and with it being “dead” week, this is an eventful time of the year.  Although this week has been jam-packed and busy, we play Nebraska tomorrow and I am so pumped. We usually play them around this time of year and the battle will not only be on the court but fighting against the stressors of “dead” week as well. The week before final exams is one of the most stressful times of the semester, but also the most fun. I will probably drink more coffee in the next several days than I will in the rest of the year combined. Knowing that your teammates know exactly how you are feeling and are also going through the same thing, makes being a student athlete that much easier.

 

Right now this time is crazy stressful, but it will soon be crazy good. In ten days and counting I can officially kiss the 2012 fall semester goodbye and start packing for our Cancun tournament! This will be my first time out of the country and experiencing it with my team makes it that much better. There are so many great things to come, but winter break is the best time of year simply because you get to play basketball non stop without worrying about what paper is due, making up lectures, or taking exams on the road. So after all the stress in this next week, comes sweet relief. It is true that you cannot know what good times are like unless you go through bumpy ones. One thing that I can always count on is through the stresses of finals week or sunbathing on sunny beaches in Mexico.  Bluejays Fly Together...Go Jays!!!

 

Alexis Akin-Otiko


November 27, 2012
Sophomore Sammy Jensen

While sitting at the dinner table eating my Thanksgiving dinner, I realized that in life there is so much to be thankful for. My family, friends, team, health, food, education, and my list could go on and on. I just want to spend a little bit of time to express my thanks for my team, coaching staff, family, fans, and God.


I'll start with my team. I can say with no doubt that I definitely have the best teammates out there. Being with the same group of girls everyday for a whole season, you have to be able to love and respect one another. With the group of girls on my team, we all understand one another and that will make us the most successful team we can possibly be. There are many reasons why our team meshes so well together, but one reason I believe is that we all bring our own uniqueness and own personalities to the team. No matter the situation, whether it being good or bad, my teammates are there whenever needed. Over the last year and a half, my teammates have become more than that. They are some of my closest friends here at school and seem more like family to me than teammates. I am so very thankful for all thirteen of them and could not imagine playing anyone else.


Next up is the coaching staff. Many times, from the stands, you guys only see one side of the coaches, and that is often times when they are focused in the game.  Although, there are times when the coaches may not be exactly happy with us, I think that each of us can see the reason being they just want the best of us. The times when they are happy with us, they do show it, but they also encourage us to continue to get better and help us make improvements. Other than spending the days in the office, practice, and in games our coaches do so much behind the scenes. Each one of them spends extra hours with us shooting  and watching film, figuring out ways to improve our team, spending countless hours watching film and making scouting reports on our opponents, planning all our road trips, and many more things that I am probably unaware of. They for sure deserve to be thanked for all that they do for our team.


Moving right along, I believe it is safe to say that we have the best parents around. No matter how far away the game might be, we always have the best crowds to support and cheer us on. Although not all of our parents are able to come to all the games due to work, family, or obligations at home, the parents who are able to show up are loud and loyal and we do feel the love and support from the ones watching from home. When we have the opportunity to travel near one of our home towns, our parents are generous enough to provide a nice home cooked dinner. These meals are some of the best meals that we get all year long. There is no way that any of us girls would be here at Creighton if it were not for our parents. Growing up as little girls they saw the potential we had and encouraged us to reach for our dreams. We will never be able to thank our parents enough for all that they have done for us.


Here, at Creighton, I believe we have the best fans out there. Even though all the chairs may not be filled every night, you guys bring so much noise and excitement to our games. The games would not be half as much fun if it weren't for your guys. Another thing I love about our fans is the loyalty. Game in and game out, we see the same faces over and over again. Thank you for all of the support and encouragement that you give our team throughout the year. You guys truly are the best!


Last but not least, I want to thank God for the opportunity that I have to be at a school like Creighton. Not only do I have the chance to receive an excellent education here, but I also have the opportunity to be a part of something so special like the basketball team. I thank God for my team, coaches, families, and fans because if I had not been blessed with all of this then I would not be where I am today. He has blessed my team and I with the gift to play this game, and what we do with our gifts is our blessing back to him.


"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Sammy Jensen


November 20, 2012
Junior Jordan Garrison

You know basketball season has officially begun after your first road trip as a team.  This past week the team traveled to South Dakota to take on the SDSU Jackrabbits, and let’s just say the bus ride back is a lot better after getting a W!


Today we head back to South Dakota to take on the USD Coyotes, and begin road trip number 2!  We have had four days worth of practices in order to prepare for a victory against USD, and we are ready to go out and do whatever it takes to earn it!  My favorite part about this team is our competitiveness and our drive to get better.


Due to these two factors, I think this year is going to be a very exciting one. Because we have only played two regular season games so far this year, it’s hard to right a blog solely on game details, so I am just going to talk a little bit about basketball in general: They say time flies when you’re have fun, but I say, “time flies when you are doing what you love.”


It’s crazy to think that I am already a junior in college.  It seems like just yesterday I was out on my basketball court at home playing a family basketball game with my mom, dad, and brother.  I lived for this moment every day!  Getting to come home and shoot baskets with my entire family, what more could a girl want?  Or how about all the trips across the country to play in AAU tournaments as a kid; that’s something I will never forget.  All of these things made basketball fun for me, but did it make me love the game?


The real question is, why do I love the game so much?   To me, it’s the freedom.  It’s me being able to go to the gym at midnight, turn on my favorite song, and just shoot baskets strictly because I want to.  It’s about me being able to be a good Christian role model in a way in which I can hopefully affect somebody’s life in a positive manner.  It’s about me forgetting any stressful thing in my life from the time my foot steps on to the court, until the time my foot steps off of it.  It’s about getting to represent things much larger than yourself.  It’s about me building a bond with my brother that will last a lifetime, and better yet, it’s me realizing that I have the most supportive family I could ever dream of having.  It’s the little details in life that have become magnified by the game of basketball.


As I grow older, I will admit it terrifies me to think that in two years I will be graduating college.  It’s weird to think that I will actually have to get a real job, because playing the game you love no longer counts.  Although this thought scares me, I realize basketball will always be a part of my life: whether it’s playing, watching, or even coaching.


As you can see, basketball is something that has become very important to me, for other reasons then just the physical aspect.  It has allowed me to not only express myself, but also build relationships with people that will last me a lifetime.  It has allowed me to be a part of what I think is the best university in the nation, and don’t forget, it has allowed me to become a CREIGHTON BLUEJAY!!! And this ladies and gentleman is why I love the game.


GO JAYS!


November 13, 2012
Freshman Marissa Janning

Moving to Creighton this fall got my nerves going which surprised me.  A new home away from Watertown, MN was strange to me…especially to be in the city! Getting the hang of things didn’t take long, though.  The season is already here and I’m beyond excited, because this is what I’ve been waiting for!


Being a freshman on a pretty experienced team is great.  I’m able to ask any of my teammate’s questions on or off the court.  Our seniors, Ally and Jasmin, are extremely helpful and I know I could talk to them about anything.  The only rough part was during practice when Coach Flan put the three freshmen on the floor at the same time and called a new baseline out of bounds play or certain play where we just move around randomly.  The three of us thought there was structure to it,  so we tried our hardest to pay attention.   When really it didn’t even matter what we did as long as someone steps to catch.  Everyone got a good laugh out of that on the sidelines…. Embarrassing! 


The biggest difference transitioning from high school to college academically is the amount of homework and studying I have now.  I do like the class schedule better since I start every day after 9:00am and I’m done before 1:00pm… I could definitely get used to that! 


As far as basketball goes, everyone is bigger, faster, and stronger.  Practice and games are more physical and the margin for error is a lot smaller. Between school and basketball I had to figure out some kind of time management, and with the helpful teammates I have it wasn’t hard to find answers to all of my questions! 


What I like most about being on my own is just the feeling of being independent.  I mean, I love it when my mom does my laundry… and cooks meals… and cleans my room… ha.


Being away from my parents has allowed me to be able to make my own decisions and be disciplined on my own.  I don’t have my dad telling me, “You can’t go until you finish your homework!” I know here that if I don’t finish all my work it’s going to come back to bite me.  The best part about being a college basketball player is that it keeps me busy and in shape.  I love to run, but I don’t think I’d be able to motivate myself to get out and run if I didn’t have to!  It’s also great because I get to meet new people and develop new relationships with new teammates and coaches.


My biggest challenge on the basketball court would be that I’m not as strong as I need to be. I promise I’m working on that. Practices and weights leading up to now were hectic at first, but it all becomes habit after getting the hang of things. 


Kicking off the season with an exhibition game against a Minnesota team was great, but I was more excited to play #12 Oklahoma! Playing my first game of my college career was absolutely crazy! I wasn’t really nervous like I thought I would be, but I was more excited, especially since it was against a very good team!  The game didn’t go quite the way we wanted, but it was a really good learning experience for all of us, especially me! 

Personally, it showed me how much stronger I need to get and to have patience, but at the same time make good decisions quickly.


As we move on to play SDSU, I’m excited to bounce back from Saturday.  We leave today after practice and just traveling with the entire team is something I have looked forward to since I committed!


November 6, 2012
Junior Riley Norman


Our season recently kicked off with an exhibition game against Southwest Minnesota State, but I think everyone is more excited to get into the real stuff, especially for our home opener against Oklahoma this Saturday! I know I’m excited to lead the cheerleading on the bench for a third year in a row, and very happy to announce that I see great cheer potential in sophomore Taylor Johnson! Together we can definitely make some noise. Ha!


The excitement in the air for games to start also comes with added pressure and tension in practices, which has definitely been the case lately. After having been on the sidelines for so long up to this point, I’ve become much more observant. Not to reveal any secrets, but I can tell you the exact face McKenzie Fujan makes when she doesn’t agree with a call, I can mimic Sarah Nelson’s shoe-tongue/shoelace grab that she does when she is out of breath, and I have seen too many variations of the, I-just-got-elbowed-in-the-face-by-Kampy-and-didn’t-get-a-foul-called, faces to count. I can read when Ally Jensen and Jordan Garrison are both shooting with confidence, but also when they are frustrated about their three pointers not going in.  And it has become easy to tell when any one of the three freshmen are playing scared, worried more about turning the ball over and being yelled at (not that the coaches ever do that…..) rather than simply playing the game they know how to play.


All those little things aside, I also see the incredible potential each and every person on this team has to make an impact this year. Returning starters Ally Jensen, Sarah Nelson, Carli Tritz, and McKenzie Fujan have great chemistry and are consistent as usual. Alyssa Kamphaus and Alexis Akin-Otiko both have a huge opportunity to have break out years, and their high level of playing during the preseason has helped bring freshman post Bri Rollerson along.


Another rookie, Marissa Janning, will provide the team with extra ball handling and play-making skills, as she is the first true point guard we’ve had during my time here at Creighton. Jasmin Corbin and Jordan Garrison have been shooting lights out at practice, and believe it or not, 5’5” sophomore Sammy Jensen has been a force on the rebounding end with her endless effort. The third freshman, Tessa Leytem, has shown her ability to work hard on and off the ball on defense, always making the extra hustle plays that help make the team better. And let’s not forget Taylor Johnson, who I like to consider my little ACL buddy. She’s been pushing hard with rehab, working each day to get better in hopes of helping the team upon her return next year. With all that being said, I know that we all have big goals for the year, including another MVC championship and NCAA appearance. Everyone in this program knows what it takes to get there, and I think we have all the tools necessary to make it happen, so get excited fans!


As for me, after officially deciding not to play anymore following my third knee surgery, I now have a few alternative roles on the team that I didn’t previously have. Working alongside Sara Cain (who does a lot more than anyone would ever know, might I add), I am helping out with various marketing projects for the program, in addition to being an extra hand to the coaches in the offices. I think my situation is the best it possibly could be considering the circumstances. But I won’t lie, the past few months I have missed playing basketball more than ever. Last spring when I went through the process of making my decision, it really did break my heart. It was very hard to imagine life without sports after being an athlete my entire life. Through it all, though, I have become a stronger person and learned that there are greater things in life than playing basketball (like being able to walk when I’m 40!).


I hope that I can be an example to other people who struggle with injuries or may have had to give up playing a sport they love for any given reason. The fact that I still get to travel with the teammates I love and be on the bench every single game cheering them on is more than I could ever ask for. I consider myself extremely lucky to be where I am today.


Hope to see everyone on Saturday!


October 30, 2012
Junior Alyssa Kamphaus


It’s that time of the year again…BASKETBALL SEASON!!! It is hard to believe that we are almost finished with our first month of practice. This past weekend the Creighton Women’s basketball team went on its annual trip to Iowa City and played against the Iowa Hawkeyes in a closed scrimmage. I always love this part of the season because it is our first little trip together after battling on the court for a month and we get a little time for some team bonding on the way there and back.

 

We traveled in two 15 passenger vans because of the short trip east on the highway, so the team was unfortunately split up with seven players in each van. I was privileged to spend my four hour van ride with the three freshmen! It was a great time to get to know their personalities and what kind of quirky things they do when you’re around them for long periods of time. :)


As always, we stopped in Walford, IA on Friday night and enjoyed another wonderful meal made by Sara Cain’s family. The past two years we’ve gone to a haunted house or corn maze after the dinner, but because of the early start time the next morning for the scrimmage, we all just wanted to eat and relax. I was just happy I wouldn’t be forced to go through yet another haunted something…


Saturday morning we scrimmaged Iowa. It is always nice to have this opportunity as it helps pin point our weaknesses that we need to get ironed out before the first game. In addition to that, I know my teammates will agree, we like to scrimmage and beat up on other players for once instead of each other. It’s nice to see a set play actually work because the other team has no idea what you’re running. That doesn’t happen too often in practice anymore.  Overall, I felt like everyone played pretty well and it was a nice way to get some first game jitters out of the way in a game like situation.


Like any other team, we have a few important goals in mind for the season. A few short term goals are to become better at rebounding, communication, and being able to be more consistent for a longer period of time throughout the game. Our long term goals are to, of course, win the regular season MVC title and win the MVC Tournament championship for the second straight year.  As important as our on the court goals are, we also take pride in our off-court goal of having a team grade point average of 3.30 or higher this semester.  I’m not sure about other places, but my teammates are known to stress out about a test or two. That’s what makes being a student-athlete at Creighton so unique.


Overall, I think our team has taken huge strides in improvement within this first month of practice. You can tell that our freshmen Bri Rollerson, Marrissa Janning, and Tessa Leytem have adjusted to the speed of the college game and practice setting. I have noticed that they are becoming more confident every day and are starting to make plays and impact our team in a positive way. You can definitely tell sophomore Sammy Jensen has worked hard on her 3-point shot and Alexis Akin-Otiko continues to prove how good of shape she’s in with her run outs on offense and her defensive ball pressure.   TJ is working hard on rehabbing her knee and is becoming stronger every day.


Our junior class is always an interesting bunch.  Sarah has continued to be a great team leader and shows every day how much she’s improved her ball-handling. And believe it or not, she has actually improved her shot even more. I could be wrong, but I really don’t think she misses anymore. Ha! When you think of Jordan, you usually picture her ten feet behind the three point line, right? But, she has actually become a wicked drive-the-ball player and adding that to her arsenal makes her very difficult to guard. The main focus for Carli and McKenzie right now is to stay healthy because we all miss their presence on the floor when they’re hurting.


Riley is constantly showing up to practice every with a smile on her face, and she is a great reminder that we should all be thankful for every time we get to step on the court.


You never know, it very well could be your last. Think about it…


And last, but not least, our seniors Ally Jensen and Jasmin Corbin are continuing to be great leaders. They are constantly making hustle plays and are doing everything they can to make our team better.


Hopefully this has made you as excited about the season as it has made me.   We all hope you can make it out to watch us play our exhibition game (tomorrow) on Wednesday October 31st. The tipoff is at 5:05p.m., so you will have plenty of time to run home after the game and hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters!


Hope to see everyone Wednesday!!! Go Jays!!!

#55 Alyssa Kamphaus


October 23, 2012
Senior Jasmin Corbin


Time is flying by. We’ve been practicing for almost a month now and not that I’m counting or anything, but our first regular season game is just 18 days away.  I’m sure I speak for the rest of the team and coaching staff when I say we can hardly wait for tip-off!


Just in case you missed the 2012-13 men's and women's basketball debut at Bluejay Madness two weeks ago, I’ll give you a quick synopsis of the night. It was an awesome environment for both teams to experience and take in the support of Bluejay fans. Seeing our arena packed to near capacity was pretty exciting! Our three freshmen (Marissa Janning, Tessa Leytem, and Bri Rollerson) were pretty nervous for the event and didn’t realize how much fun it really was until they walked through the fog to half court during introductions and the crowd cheered them on every step of the way.


Bri Roll is a comic at heart and she made sure to tell plenty of jokes before her name was called to calm some of the nerves. Tessa was pretty nervous to compete in the 3-point contest for the first time as a freshman. She knew the expectations were high after being partnered with one of the best 3-point shooters on the men’s team, Ethan Wragge. Little did she know that she would end up doing just fine and actually helped shoot her duo into the semi-final round. Marissa was alongside one of the most charismatic guys on the men’s team (Jahenns Manigat), so you could tell she was having a blast right away. He makes it pretty tough for anyone not to have a good time though.


The championship round was a pretty exciting match-up between our very own Jensen sisters! Sammy Jensen was paired with freshmen sharp shooter Isiah Zierden and Ally Jensen was with All-American Doug McDermott. They both held their own by hitting nine and ten shots respectively to kick off a competition that was close the entire minute. In the end though, Zierden drained a shot at the buzzer to win it with a score of 18-17!


The slam dunk contest was a treat to watch as always and both teams scrimmages went well. Half of our team was super excited to show off our new blue away jerseys and the men showcased a team minus local star Antoine Young. A new season is here…


The night not only made official practice season a little more real for both teams, but it also marked the beginning of fall break for all of the students here at Creighton. While most students here go home for the week, all of the student-athletes are here practicing the sport we love. My week consisted of lots of sleeping, eating, and practicing! That’s not a bad life, right? Ha!


The down time has been nice though. None of us were stressing about classes and we were all pretty focused on simply getting better on the court. We had a couple practices late in the week where we really looked good as a team!


The week off also gives us a chance to do some fun things together like go to soccer games, movies, eat out at some fancy restaurants that none of us can afford to go to on a normal day, and of course make frequent trips to the tanning salon! It’s that time of year where we’re all getting a little pasty!


One of the other highlights to the week was a trip to Holy Family Church in North Omaha. My teammates and I were truly humbled by the time spent with kids.  We packed close to 500 brown bag lunches for the less fortunate in our city. A few of us actually got to hand the sandwiches out to the people waiting in line that afternoon. It was truly a sight to see how thankful and appreciative these people were. I’m sure I speak for the entire team when I say it was a wonderful opportunity to be involved in something like that in our community.


Ultimately, the week was a huge success. We had a great break and took advantage of every opportunity to build on our team chemistry and improve on the court.  This week has allowed us to lock down and give the coaches plenty of time to evaluate our performances as individual players further and also work on what we think we need to improve on individually. We look forward to seeing everyone on Halloween and for sure on November 10th when we tip-off for the first time this regular season against Big 12 opponent Oklahoma University!


October 16, 2012
Sophomore Taylor Johnson


I’m not sure if you all know by now, but I’m going through a difficult time. After what was probably one of the best years of my life last season, I am now going through one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced, bouncing back from a torn ACL, MCL, and Meniscus is for sure the toughest thing I’ve ever been through.

So, let me take you back to how it happened…


I was practicing on my own this summer in July with a local high school team and we were in the middle of a simple one on one drill.  I was driving to the hoop and was going to stop for a pull up jumper, but instead, I heard my knee pop twice and it gave out underneath me. I’m not going to try to be all tough and say I shrugged it off or didn’t notice anything, because in fact, once I heard the “pop” I was on the ground in tears. There was no contact whatsoever. I just jumped up and before I landed, I knew something had gone completely wrong. My coaches instantly were off the bench and ran to see if I was okay. The worst part is that I had to drive thirty minutes home in tears, with my gas light on, praying to God that I wouldn’t run out.


It took a while for the doctors to tell me all that I had done to my knee, but once the MRI was complete and my results were in, I was diagnosed with a torn ACL, MCL, and Meniscus. It was something every player dreads to hear, but that was my reality and I am now getting through it.


With the bad news and surgery over, I’ve been in the training room two to three times a day icing and doing rehab. Every day we practice, I’m in the gym an hour before building up strength in my quads and working on my range of motion. Two or three times a week I’m in the pool doing even more work outs from never ending kick board work outs to form running in the deep end. I have just started on leg press with weight this week and pretty soon our trainer is letting me run on the elliptical, which is really exciting because I haven’t moved faster than a walk in three months now.


Despite what is going on with me, the season must go on! We have an exciting group and the team is looking good after a couple weeks of practice already. It’s funny to watch some of the girls practice because you pick up on their nervous habits that I didn’t recognize when I was on the court playing with them. Jordan always wipes the bottoms of her shoes with her hands and then on her shorts, and Sarah tries not to smile when she makes a big play. What drives everyone nuts is when Kenzie goes up for a layup and kicks her feet out, but she can’t exactly help it. Ally and Sammy both tend to have the same facial expressions, but what separates the two is how Ally sticks her tongue out when she’s dribbling on offense sometimes.  My favorite is when Kampy says sorry and apologizes after something she did wrong or if she accidentally hurt another teammate.  If Jazz messes up or makes a silly mistake, she never fails to clap her hands and yell a little. Being on the side line gives me a whole other perspective to the game of basketball and my teammates for sure.


It will be hard going to the games this year and not suiting up, but I will be there a hundred percent of the way cheering for them and hoping for the best. They have been the best teammates with helping me with my injury and couldn’t have asked for more.


Basketball and rehab isn’t the only thing keeping me busy these days. I’ve got a full load of nursing classes. In order to stay on top of things in class, I have to start studying a little over a week in advance for one test. One test is 50 questions and covers material from six different chapters. Talk about stressful…


And that brings me to my new hobby…


To get rid of some stress one day, I sat down and just started doodling on a pair of shoes. Eventually, I covered both pairs with random sayings and pictures. Instantly my team thought they were pretty cool and wanted me to design different pairs for them, so of course i did. I first did Jordan’s, then Marissa’s, then Carli’s and even Coach Moore had me make her a pair. The shoes have become a huge hit .  J


What I really enjoy is the art aspect of it, I haven’t gotten to take any art classes at Creighton yet but I’m definitely looking forward to it. This year is going to be an eventful year and I’m excited to get season under way. I think we’re all looking forward to a back to back title and we’re working hard already to get it. It’s going to be a great year to be a Blue Jay!     


October 9, 2012
Senior Ally Jensen


“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress . Working together is success.” - Henry Ford

“whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” - Colossians 3:23


Can you believe it’s already the 2012-2013 season?! It seems like yesterday we were boarding that charter fly to head to Norman, Oklahoma to take on 3rd seeded/14 ranked Saint John’s in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Another post season and summer has come and gone and it’s time to start the new year. 


This preseason was filled with individuals, lifting workouts, conditioning, and pickup. Classes have been in full swing with midterms this week. We are already half way through this semester! Midterms are not enjoyable at Creighton, but the week to follow (FALL BREAK) is worth it! Getting a whole week off from school is really nice. Not only is it good to get a break from classes but it is nice to have a whole week devoted to getting better on the court. Our week will not actually be much of a break, however. It will be filled practicing almost every day, watching film, fitting in extra shooting workouts, lifting, and community service projects. Then, the remainder of our time will be spent SLEEPING, watching some movies, homework (only some of us), and eating at good restaurants and hosted dinners throughout Omaha.


We were excited to officially begin practice October 1st. Although we haven’t been perfect, I love the fight and energy this team brings every day. Everyone from the players to the coaching staff have a lot of passion and excitement for this season. We have a lot of work to do before our first tipoff against Oklahoma, but are making strides and have the right attitudes to improve. Flan keeps reminding us that we are only as good as our weakest link. One of the things I love best about this time is how we all rely on and have confidence in one another. This team is talented from top to bottom, and this team is unselfish from top to bottom. It doesn’t matter who makes the shots or gets the glory, all we want to do is win. It makes for a very fun and unique practice setting and team environment when 14 girls unselfishly put one another before themselves to make the team better.


One of my teammates tweeted the other day, “new team, same dream!” I think that fits us PERFECTLY! We lost a great senior, basketball player, and teammate in Danae last year. But, we gained three young, energetic, and talented freshmen. We were all very sad to hear we lost Taylor Johnson to an ACL tear this summer. She is working hard to rehab her knee and will accompany


Riley Norman as one of our biggest cheerleaders this season. With losing another great teammate to the alumni list, the daily reminder of injuries like TJ and Riley, and the reality of being a senior, this season has a special anticipation. I have enjoyed every season here at Creighton for its own reasons. I am especially excited to get the opportunity to play for Flan and this university one more time. Each day I get to lace up my sneakers and strap on my ankle braces, I feel blessed for one more chance to be a better teammate, compete at practice, and learn from my coaches.


Everyone can agree that time goes so fast! I still remember crystal clear the day my parents helped me move into Kiewit hall. I feel grateful to have great teammates in the past for guidance and encouragement but hope to be a great leader and example to my younger teammates and friends this season.


Speaking of younger players, let me be one of the first to introduce our freshman class this year…


Tessa is a 5”11 lefty guard from Dubuque. It’s always great to have another Iowa native on the team! She has the cutest smile, is an extremely hard worker, and the sweetest of teammates. On the court, she has a smooth jumper, is super long on defense, and can run forever.


Marissa is also a lefty guard that can run forever! She is from Minnesota and was pretty much a stud as a high schooler. If you want to be her friend, just bring her ice cream. She has ice cream twice a day (no joke) and doesn’t gain a pound! Don’t let her slender build fool you though, she can rebound, guard, and score with the best of them.


Bri is our freshman in the low post. Graduating from Omaha Central, she still gets to hear her schools marching band and see high school friends frequently. She has worked extra hard this preseason to try to stay up with the experience of our other three posts. She is funny and sweet, but really scary when she blocks your shot into the wall (which has only happened to me like 4 or 5 times).


You have the opportunity to meet them and the rest of our team this Friday night at Bluejay Madness! There will be a three point contest, dunk contest (men’s team only, sorry), scrimmages, and autographs. Admission is free so you have no excuse not to be there! It is a fun event and we would love to have the Ryan packed!!


Hope to see you soon!  With love, Ally

 

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