The Creighton women’s basketball team continued their perfect start to 2013 with a 69-50 victory over the Indiana State Sycamores (10-5, 2-2 MVC).
Creighton (12-3, 4-0 MVC), now 4-0 in the month of January, got major contributions off the bench from junior guard Jordan Garrison and freshman point guard Marissa Janning. The “Dynamic Duo”, as Janning calls it, had remarkably similar production at the end of the day. Both shot 5 for 11 from the floor, including three of six from long range, and they each grabbed four rebounds. Garrison led all scorers with 14 points, while Janning was right behind her with 13.
“We just click really well together,” said the freshman from Watertown, Minnesota. “We are best friends. We click right off the start. Us two coming in we’re like a little dynamic duo off bench I guess you could say.”
Garrison Gets Back On Track
After going 2 for 14 from the field and 1 for 10 from beyond the arc in wins over Evansville and Illinois State, Garrison broke out of her shooting slump early in this contest. Entering the game with 16:10 remaining in the first half, and the Jays leading 3-2, she found Janning in the corner for a three. Her first shot attempt was good as she cashed in a three-pointer to give Creighton an early 12-6 cushion with 12:23 remaining in the opening period.
When junior Sarah Nelson, who came three assists shy of a triple-double in Friday night’s win over Illinois State, picked up her second foul she was forced to go to the bench with 6:45 left in the first half. Garrison picked up the slack by nailing two long three-pointers to give the Jays a 28-14 lead, and prevent Indiana State from getting back in the game while Nelson was out. She nearly added a buzzer-beater at the end of the 1st half after she intercepted the inbounds pass, but her jumper bounced off the side of the rim as time expired. She scored 10 points in the opening 20 minutes.
“It’s fun to come in off the bench and tried to provide something,” said Garrison. “I think our bench players do a good playing our role and doing what we can to get the game going.”
For Marissa Janning to perform the way she has this season as a true freshman there wouldn’t appear to be much to be critical about. However, one area of growing concern has been her inability to finish around the rim. That issue continued in the first half today.
With 2:09 to go in the first half, Janning drove by Indiana State defender Travecia Franklin and went in for an uncontested layup, but missed it off the other side of the rim. She had the same opportunity on the very next possession, but this time opted not to drive. Her confidence was clearly a bit shaken, so with his team leading 30-20, Bluejays head coach Jim Flanery called a timeout with 27.3 seconds remaining in the first half to set up the final play. He called for another high ball screen to get Janning some space driving to the basket.
“[Coach Flanery] put me back in and said, ‘I want you to attack the rim, and you are going to finish it.’ I’m happy he did that, because I was really frustrated and that’s why I didn’t go in on the second opportunity that I had.”
This time she converted with about three seconds left to give Creighton a 32-20 lead at halftime. The layup gave her 10 points going into halftime. While she didn’t have any opportunities around the rim in the second half, her head is sure to be clearer the next time she gets going towards the basket.
Shooting Not the Only Option for Tritz
Junior Carli Tritz averaged 11.4 points per game as a freshman and 14.4 as a sophomore, but this season her scoring average is down to 8.8 per contest. It may be easy to suggest that the injury issues are affecting her scoring ability, so that’s why a closer look at her numbers and how she is playing the game will show that it’s actually a conscious decision to be more selective with her scoring opportunities.
To begin the second half she engineered an 8-2 run by dishing out three assists and hitting a jumper on the baseline – her only shot attempt of the game. The spurt gave the Jays an 18-point lead with 16:20 remaining, and that was the closest the game would be from the point on. She finished the game with five points (1-1 FG, 3-4 FT), an assist:turnover ratio of 7:0, two rebounds, and one steal in 21 minutes of floor time.
This season her assists are up to a career-high 4.1 per game, and her 45.8% three-point shooting and 77.1% free throw percentage are also at her highest levels as a Creighton Bluejay. These might be reasons why Tritz doesn’t seem concerned about her scoring.
“I don’t find myself saying ‘oh, I don’t want to shoot it.’ Our people are moving so well off the ball that there is someone open right when I get the ball, or someone’s open on the backdoor or on threes. There is a lot going on when I catch it – a lot more than the last couple of years.”
Her head coach credits her character as the reason she has embraced her new role on the team.
“I credit her for being unselfish because it would be really easy for her to be dissatisfied with how many times we’re calling on her to score,” said coach Flanery. “I think she’s being really unselfish for understanding that we don’t need her to score 15 to 18 every night, and she can pick and choose a little. We’ve talked that with certain lineups she needs to look to the basket more, but a lot of times she doesn’t need to. She can facilitate and pass the way she has, and just occasionally attack.”
Creighton will hit the road next to take on the Wichita State Shockers in a battle of teams with undefeated records in conference. The Shockers improved to 3-0 in conference play, and 9-6 overall, with a 60-57 victory at Northern Iowa on Saturday night. Only one of Wichita State’s losses came by more than five points this season. Each team protected home court last season. The last time a road team won a game in this series came on February 7, 2010 when Creighton defeated the Shockers, 58-48. Senior guard Ally Jensen is the only current member of this Creighton team to see action in that game.
Tip-off for the game at Wichita State is set for 7:05 p.m. on Saturday, January 19. It will be part of a men/women basketball doubleheader at Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kansas, as the Creighton and Wichita State men’s teams will square off at 3 p.m. that same day.
Indiana State / Creighton
Score: 50 / 69
FG/FGA/FG%: 18-48 (37.5%) / 25-52 (48.1%)
3FG/3FGA/3FG%: 2-11 (18.2%) / 10-22 (45.5%)
FT/FTA/FT%: 12-18 (66.7%) / 9-12 (75%)
Rebounding: 29 (Off: 8, Def: 21) / 34 (Off: 7, Def: 27)
Assists: 11 / 19
Turnovers: 13 / 12
Steals: 3 / 7
Blocks: 1 / 1
Scoring Leaders: Laramie (11) / Garrison (14)
Rebounding Leaders: Franklin (11) / Akin-Otiko (5)
Assists Leaders: Zurek (4) / Tritz (7)
Steals Leaders: Zurek, Mahan, Franklin (1) / Nelson, Akin-Otiko (2)
Blocks Leaders: Mahan (1) / Nelson (1)