Just seven non-conference games remain in the 2012-13 season, with the league currently sitting at 54-53. The Valley has finished above .500 in non-conference play in 10 of the past 13 seasons, including four straight.
Perfect Away From Home
Creighton is a perfect 6-0 in games away from home (3-0 in true road games and 3-0 in neutral games). The Bluejays are one of just four teams in NCAA Division I to boast this statistic, joining Stanford (8-0), Dayton (7-0) and Western Kentucky (7-0).
And Perfect at Home
Indiana State is a perfect 6-0 at home this season, one of just 25 teams from around the nation to be unbeaten on their home court after at least six games. The Sycamore have won seven straight games inside Hulman Center overall, dating back to last season’s win over Wichita State on Senior Day.
Three in the Top 100
The third edition of the Collegiate Basketball News RPI Report (Dec. 24) has three league teams listed in the top-100. Creighton leads the way (20), up 30 spots from last week, while Missouri State (54) and Illinois State (94) also represent the MVC among the nation’s top teams in the RPI.
Three Valley teams are also ranked in the top-100 for schedule strength, with Creighton once again leading the way (No. 21), followed by Missouri State (No. 45) and UNI (No. 76).
The Valley ranks No. 11 as a league in the latest RPI, including a No. 12 rank in strength of schedule.
Creighton's Sarah Nelson and Illinois State's Janae Smith have been named the Missouri Valley Conference Player and Newcomer of the Week, respectively. Nelson earns her first honor of the season, while Smith tallied her fifth league Newcomer of the Week award.
MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Sarah Nelson, Jr., F, Creighton
Nelson averaged 17 points and 7.5 rebounds in the Jays’ two victories at the Caribbean Classic. In Creighton’s opener against Miami (Ohio), the Bluejay post player led the team with seven rebounds and seven assists. The following afternoon, Nelson was unstoppable as she posted a career-high 29 points on 12-of-14 shooting. Nelson nailed all four of her three-pointers against the USF Bulls and also led the team with eight rebounds and three blocked shots. The Omaha native led Creighton to its first tournament championship since 2007-08 when the Jays won the Rocky Mountain Invitational. Over the two contests, Nelson had 34 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists and just four turnovers in 60 minutes of play. She was also a perfect 5-of-5 beyond the arc in the two contests.
MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE NEWCOMER OF THE WEEK
Janae Smith, So., F, Illinois State
Smith recorded her second-straight double-double performance, as she led the Illinois State women’s basketball team with 17 points and a career-high 16 rebounds in its loss to Princeton (Dec. 19). She shot 41 percent from the field, making 7-of-17. In 38 minutes, Smith also dished out two assists and had a steal. In ISU’s win over in-state rival Illinois (Dec. 21), Smith netted 13 points and brought down seven boards in the 69-68 victory. She was 5-of-11 from the field and handed out four assists and had a steal in 37 minutes. The Matteson, Ill., native is the leading scorer for Illinois State, averaging 15.5 points per game with a 51 percent field goal percentage. Smith also leads the team with 8.8 rebounds per game and 10 blocks, averaging 32.7 minutes per game.
Noteworthy - In addition to the league's player and newcomer of the week selections, several conference players had notable performances, and they include:
Kelsey Budd (BU); Carly Grenfell (DU); Samantha Heck (UE); Candace Sykes (ILS); Racheal Mahan (INS); Christiana Shorter (MSU); Cartaesha Macklin (SIU); Jessica Diamond (WSU); Marissa Janning (CU); Ashley Bartow (DU); Mallory Ladd (UE); Marina Laramie (INS); Rishonda Napier (SIU).