True freshman Marissa Janning scored a career-high, and D.J. Sokol Arena record, 26 points, and junior center Alyssa Kamphaus pitched in 12 points and 11 rebounds (tying career-high) for her first career double-double as Creighton (17-6, 9-3 MVC) completed the season sweep of the Missouri State Bears (12-12, 4-8 MVC) with a 67-51 victory.
Janning got started early, scoring eight quick points to help Creighton jump out to a 13-0 lead in the first three and a half minutes of the game. After a timeout by Missouri State head coach Nyla Milleson the Bears went on an 18-4 to take a one point lead with 9:28 remaining in the first half. Janning then hit two three-pointers on consecutive possessions to reclaim the lead for Creighton at 23-20.
Each team traded baskets the rest of the way as the Bluejays took a 31-30 lead into the locker room at the half. Janning was the only player to score in double figures in the first half, pouring in 14 points on 5 for 10 shooting, including 4 for 7 from beyond the arc. She along with juniors McKenzie Fujan (5) and Alyssa Kamphauss (10) scored 29 of Creighton’s 31 points in the opening 20 minutes. “At halftime [Flan] pointed out Kampy and McKenzie,” said Janning. “They were the spark to our game. They brought the entire team together.”
Junior guard Karly Buer led the Bears with eight points and five rebounds in the first half.
The game remained close midway through the second half as both teams combined to shoot just 9 for 30 from the field. Coming out of a timeout and trailing Missouri State 45-44, Fujan received a pass from Janning and buried a three to give Creighton a two-point lead with 9:00 remaining in the second half. Fujan, who finished with 16 points and six assists, then knocked down two free throws after a technical foul was called on Missouri State freshman Tyonna Snow. The free throws gave Creighton a 49-45 lead with 8:17 to play. “
Soon after Fujan’s five straight points gave her team the lead, Janning drained two three-pointers and sophomore Alexis Akin-Otiko buried a jumper to cap off the 13-0 run for Creighton as they took a 57-45 lead with 4:34 to play.
A little over a minute later senior guard Ally Jensen, who grabbed nine rebounds on the night, added her 200th career three-pointer to give Creighton its largest lead of the game at 64-48 with 3:09 remaining as Creighton outscored the Bears 23-6 over the final 10:41 to complete the season sweep of Missouri State and more importantly, stay within reach of first-place Wichita State, who they host on Saturday afternoon for their Pink-Out Game at D.J. Sokol Arena.
It was a big win for Creighton, which was coming off two straight losses on the road against Indiana State and Illinois State. Keeping pace with Missouri State and defending in the half court were the keys to victory for the Bluejays, “through 35 minutes down at their place they only had four offensive rebounds, and I said if we can duplicate that we’re going to be in good shape,” said Creighton head coach Jim Flanery. “They had nine in the first half so that was a little concerning, but we hammered on [our players] to rebound. I like to emphasize rebounding, but when you’re as thin as we are health-wise and numbers-wise it’s hard to work on it in practice, but we actually did this week because I felt like it was important enough to drill the message in.” Coach Flanery was also pleased with the performance of his post defenders, “we played pretty vertical in the post. [Missouri State] is a drive the ball team, and I thought Kampy, [Alexis], and Sarah didn’t reach and made them finish plays without bailing them out and sending them to the free throw line. That was key.”
Next up is the game against Wichita State. The Shockers (17-7, 11-1 MVC) defeated Drake 74-65 tonight to move to 11-1 in conference play, a full two games better than Creighton’s 9-3 conference mark. The Shockers already own a victory over the Bluejays, winning convincingly, 67-45, back on January 19. It remains Creighton’s most lopsided loss of the season.
“We know we have our hands full,” said Flanery. “They’re physical and they bother us, and they make it difficult on our offense. Tomorrow will be an important day of preparation. We have to protect our home court. We’re still in the race. We’ve got four our next six at home, and they have four of their next six on the road. I’m excited – there is supposed to be a good crowd, and it’s our ‘Pink Out’ game. That’ll be fun, and I think our fans will enjoy the game. It won’t be pretty, but it’ll be competitive. You can quote me on that – it won’t be pretty.”
Janning and Kamphaus are looking forward to the challenge following their big performances against Missouri State. “We’re excited for that game. We know it’s going to be really tough,” said ‘Kampy’, as her teammates and coaches call her. “We’re going to prepare tomorrow, and hope to rebound and just come out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm on Saturday.”
When asked about the magnitude of the upcoming game Janning added, “Huge. We’re all excited. It’s the ‘Pink Out’ game. It’s awesome. It’s Wichita. We need this win.”
Tip-off for the rematch between Creighton and Wichita State is set for 3:05 p.m. Central time on Saturday, February 16 at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Missouri State / Creighton
Score: 51 / 67
FG/FGA/FG%: 17-56 (30.4%) / 23-57 (40.4%)
3FG/3FGA/3FG%: 3-13 (23.1%) / 10-26 (38.5%)
FT/FTA/FT%: 14-22 (63.6%) / 11-14 (78.6%)
Rebounding: 41 (Off: 14, Def: 27) / 39 (Off: 9, Def: 30)
Assists: 9 / 17
Turnovers: 16 / 13
Steals: 7 / 5
Blocks: 3 / 8
Scoring Leaders: Williams (12) / Janning (26)
Rebounding Leaders: Buer, Snow (8) / Kamphaus (11)
Assists Leaders: Buer, Snow (2) / Fujan (6)
Steals Leaders: Buer (3) / Janning (2)
Blocks Leaders: Shorter (2) / Kamphaus, Nelson (3)