Opening weekend could not have gone much better for the Creighton women’s basketball team as it knocked off Wichita State and Marist in dominating fashion en route to a 2-0 start in a pair of home games.
On Friday the Bluejays outscored former MVC rival Wichita State 24-5 in the third quarter and went on to win 79-54. The Shockers, a NCAA Tournament team last season, went into halftime leading 28-27 at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Creighton dominated from the outset on Sunday against the Red Foxes, forcing 15 turnovers in a lopsided 89-46 win.
“From a coaching standpoint, they don’t come much more fun than that,” coach Jim Flanery said.
Seven turnovers came in the first quarter when the Bluejays jumped out to a 23-10 lead. Twelve Bluejay points came off of turnovers and the team shot 50 percent from the field.
The Jays didn’t slow down in the second quarter; outscoring the Red Foxes 19-6 to take a 42-16 lead into the locker room. Sophomore guard Sydney Lamberty led the Jays with 15 points. Marist finished the half shooting 17.5 percent from the field.
The Red Foxes continued to fight, but the Bluejays were too much to handle in the second half. The Bluejay bench scored 47 points compared to 28 from the Red Foxes.
The Jays’ limited Preseason MAAC First Team senior center Tori Jarosz to 1 of 10 from the field and just five points. She averaged 17.1 points per game last season.
“Our plan was to play fresh people on her,” Flanery said. “We were also a little less concerned about 3-point shooters once she caught the ball than we normally would be.”
Senior guard Marissa Janning set a career-high with nine assists in the win over the Shockers. Her new career-high didn’t last long as she piled up 10 assists in Sunday’s win. She added nine points and six rebounds against Marist.
“I know I don’t necessarily need to score that many points,” Janning said. “Because I can pass it to literally anyone and I know that I can trust them to make a shot or make a play; that just says something about our team and how deep we are.”
Fellow senior guard Tessa Leytem and sophomore guard Myah Mellman each set career-highs with nine points on Sunday. Nine Bluejays put up five or more points in the game.
“The depth on this team is huge,” Leytem said. “Everyone at this point feels comfortable going into the game and being able to contribute something.”
Lamberty led the Jays in scoring over the weekend, scoring a game-high 19 against Marist and dropping 12 against Wichita State.
“I’ve struggled with my shot lately, so it felt good to finally be making shots,” Lamberty said.
Highly-touted freshman forward Audrey Faber scored a game-high 14 points in her first career game as a Bluejay against the Shockers. Against Marist, she had 12 points and five rebounds.
The Bluejays attempted 11 3-point shots in the third quarter against the Shockers and made eight of them.
In addition to Faber and Lamberty, junior guards MC McGrory and Lauren Works scored in double digits for the Jays. McGrory came up with 12 points as Works added 11.
Junior forward Brianna Rollerson scored eight points and added a team-high five rebounds.
“We’re a deep team; we’re really a deep team,” Flanery said. “That’s comforting from my standpoint and I think it’s comforting from a player’s point of view.”
The Jays will play on the road for seven consecutive games. The Jays will have a matchup with another former MVC foe in the Drake Bulldogs before heading to Austin, Texas to play in the Lone Star Showcase.
In the Showcase on Thanksgiving weekend, the Jays will take on East Carolina, Northwestern and Eastern Washington University.
The next home game is against South Dakota State on Dec. 12.
Drake and Creighton will battle on Tuesday. Last season, the Jays defeated the Bulldogs 93-71 behind 30 points from Janning and 17 from Lamberty. Drake is 1-0 after a victory over Iowa State. The Bluejays and Bulldogs will tip-off Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. in Des Moines, Iowa.