INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Creighton women's basketball team has earned the No. 14 seed in the Fresno Regional and will face No. 3 seed and 14th-ranked St. John's in Norman, Okla., this Sunday in NCAA Tournament first round action. The Bluejays and Red Storm will meet at Oklahoma's Lloyd Noble Center on Sunday at 4:05 pm on ESPN2.
Creighton (20-12) earned its fourth NCAA Tournament bid in school history with a 53-38 win over Drake in the championship game of the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Sunday in St. Charles, Mo. This will be Creighton's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002, while the Bluejays also played in the 1992 and 1994 NCAA Tournaments.
The Bluejays are the top defensive team in the MVC, allowing just 56.6 points per game on the season, including only 43.7 per game during their MVC Tournament run. The Jays enter the NCAA Tournament winners in eight of their last nine games.
Creighton is led by first-team all-MVC guard Carli Tritz. The sophomore leads the team with 14.5 points, 3.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game on the season. Tritz was named the MVC Tournament MVP after she averaged 19.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game, including a career-high 29-point performance against regular-season champion Missouri State in the semifinals.
Sophomore Sarah Nelson earned all-tournament team honors and was an honorable-mention all-MVC selection this season. The forward averages 12.6 points per game and leads the team in rebounding (7.7 rpg), blocks (41), field-goal percentage (.500) and double-doubles (10).
St. John's owns a 22-9 record, which included a 13-3 record in the Big East. Four players score in double figures for the Red Storm. Shenneika Smith leads the team with 12.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Nadirah McKenith (12.0), Eugene McPherson (11.8) and Da'Shena Stevens (11.0) all average double figures as well.
Creighton won the only previous meeting between these teams, defeating the Red Storm in New York, 72-66, on Nov. 28, 1997.
The Creighton-St. John's match up is the first of two games at the site, with No. 6-seed Oklahoma and No. 11-seed Michigan playing 30 minutes after the completion of CU's game. Creighton and St. John's will be televised on ESPN2 with a 4:05 pm tipoff.