Coatney's Call: Creighton Preview
#25 Nebraska at Creighton
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 7:05 p.m. (central)
D.J. Sokol Arena (Omaha, Neb.)
Live Internet Video: HuskersNside (premium subscribers of Huskers.com)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
(Matt Coatney-PBP; Jeff Griesch-Analyst)
(B107.3 FM-Lincoln; The Wolf 93.3 FM-Omaha; 94.1 FM-KNEB, Scottsbluff; 1400 AM-KCOW, Alliance)
Internet: Free live audio on Huskers.com
Some people like to give stock tips. I like to give tips on watching women's basketball statistics. Here's my advice to you: as the season moves along, keep an eye on the national defensive stats and watch where Idaho State ranks defensively, and I guarantee you'll see them among the best teams in the nation.
Heading into Saturday afternoon's 60-51 Nebraska victory over ISU, the Bengals led the Big Sky Conference in defense and were allowing their opponents only 53 points per game. Jordan Hooper was able to overcome the stingy Idaho State defense for a season-high 29 points and posted her 20th career double-double and third of the season with 10 rebounds, as the Huskers improved to 6-2 overall. Senior point guard Lindsey Moore had a solid day with 13 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals in 29 minutes.
Next up for the Huskers is their yearly meeting with in-state rival Creighton Wednesday night in Omaha. Creighton is the preseason favorite to win the Missouri Valley Conference. The Bluejays return 10 players and four starters from last season's 20-13 team that won the MVC Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tourney for the first time since 2002.
The Jays are 3-2 on the young season after a 65-62 come-from-behind, overtime win at BYU last Wednesday. Trailing by 18 points late in the first half, CU rallied to outscore BYU 37-21 in the second half behind clutch three-point shooting. The Jays are undefeated on the road, with wins at South Dakota State, South Dakota and BYU, but are 0-2 at home, losing to two ranked teams, Oklahoma and Kansas.
Junior forward Sarah Nelson possibly hit the biggest shot in the CU win at BYU last week. She connected on an NBA-range three-pointer with 20 seconds remaining in overtime to give Creighton the final lead. Nelson was named honorable-mention all-conference last year and currently leads the team with 13.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 15 assists and seven blocked shots. She had seven points and seven rebounds against the Huskers in 2011.
Junior guard Carli Tritz is the preseason Missouri Valley Player of the Year. The reigning MVC Tournament MVP, she ranked in the league's top six in scoring, assists, steals and assist-to-turnover ratio last season. She is second on the team in scoring (9.2 ppg) and had a team-high 17 points against Nebraska in 2011. Senior guard Ally Jensen is expected to make her 57th career start in her 100th game Wednesday night. She sank 69 three-pointers in 2011-12, the eighth-most single-season triples in Creighton history. Jensen leads this year's team with 10 threes and adds 7.6 points per game.
Junior guard McKenzie Fujan is the fourth returning starter for CU from last season. The Wahoo native had a career-high 12 points in the MVC Tournament Championship game win over Drake last year. She adds 6.2 points per game this season. Junior center Alyssa Kamphaus rounds out Creighton's probable starting lineup. The Seward native is a former high school teammate of Husker Emily Cady, and the two played together on teams that went undefeated en route Nebraska Class B state titles during Kamphaus' junior and senior seasons. She adds 3.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for CU.
The deep Bluejay bench has been paced by freshman guard Marissa Janning. She is fourth on the team in scoring (6.2 ppg) and keyed CU's victory at BYU, hitting three three-pointers and scoring a career-high 19 points in 33 minutes of action. Janning set a Minnesota high school career record with 458 career three-pointers. She was the state high school player of the year in 2012, averaging 30.1 points per game.
Jim Flanery led Creighton to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 10 years last season. He had previously guided CU to seven WNIT postseason appearances and his teams own six 20-win seasons in his 11 years as head coach. A long-time assistant to current Husker Head Coach Connie Yori at Creighton, Flanery is one of seven coaches in MVC history with 100 league wins. He led CU to the 2004 WNIT Championship.
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Creighton 27-10 and the Huskers have won the last seven games, and eight of the last nine. The last CU win in the series was a narrow 58-57 decision at Omaha's Civic Auditorium in 2004. In last season's game in Lincoln, Lindsey Moore and Jordan Hooper combined for the Huskers' final 15 points in a 66-55 Nebraska victory. Hooper had a game-high 22 points with Moore adding 12. Emily Cady added13 points and seven rebounds for NU while Carli Tritz had 17 to lead Creighton. In the last meeting in Omaha in 2010, Moore played the entire 40 minutes and had 14 points and six assists, while Hooper had her first career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Tritz had a game-high 21 points for the Bluejays in the 2010 game.
I cordially invite you to join Jeff Griesch and me for Nebraska women's basketball on the Husker Sports Network. Our radio broadcast Wednesday evening beings with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m. (central) with the tip-off scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on the Husker Sports Network, including Lincoln affiliate KBBK 107.3 FM (B107.3), KTWI 93.3 FM (The Wolf 93.3) in Omaha, KCOW 1400 in Alliance, KNEB 94.1 FM in Scottsbluff and available to our entire 25 network stations. All Husker women's basketball broadcasts are also available for free worldwide on the internet at www.huskers.com. I hope you can join us.
There are a number of ways to get enhanced information about our broadcast and Husker women's basketball via social media. You can learn more about the team on the Nebraska Women's Basketball Facebook page or follow the team on their official Twitter page @huskerswbb. I also invite you to friend me on Facebook (Matt Coatney) or follow me on Twitter @coatman1.
Go Big Red!