Creighton freshman guard Ally Jensen knows her limitations.
“I’m definitely not the fastest, the strongest or the tallest player on the court,’’ Jensen said. “I just have to use my basketball smarts to make up for what I’m lacking.’’
By relying on her basketball IQ, the slightly built, 5-foot-7 Jensen has made an impact in her first six games as a Bluejay. She has scored 39 points while providing Creighton with another beyond-the-arc weapon.
She’s made 12 of 22 shots from 3-point range. Only one player in school history — Missy Miller in 1995 — made more 3-point baskets in her first games than has Jensen.
Only two other players — sisters Kelsey and Kristi Woodard — have scored more points in their first six games in coach Jim Flanery’s eight seasons as coach than has Jensen. The Woodard sisters each scored 46 points in their first six games.
“Ally is playing as close to her potential as anyone we have to this point,’’ Flanery said. “She does a lot of good things at both ends. She’s really underrated defensively.’’
Flanery recruited Jensen out of Ballard High School in Huxley, Iowa, located just south of her hometown of Ames. The Bombers compiled a 100-7 record in her four seasons, including a senior season in which Ballard went 26-1 and won a state championship.
Jensen set school career records for 3-point baskets (220) and steals (261). She also set a school record by making seven 3-point baskets in a game.
Jensen’s shooting ability got Flanery’s attention during the recruiting process. He’s since learned to appreciate that above-average basketball IQ that Jensen brings to the court every day.
“She can really take in information and then take it to the court,’’ Flanery said. “For a lot of freshmen, they don’t have that kind of carryover that she has from looking at a scouting report to doing it in a game.
“She is a smart basketball player.’’
She’s also fearless, teammate Sam Schuett said.
“In games when we’ve needed someone to make shots, she’s been the player,’’ Schuett said. “She’s not scared, she plays within herself and she doesn’t make mistakes. She’s not going out there and taking crazy shots.
“She knows what she has to do and she knows her role. She’s been awesome for us.’’
Jensen leads the Bluejays in 3-point percentage (.545) while ranking second in the Missouri Valley Conference. Her 12 3-point baskets also are second on the team to Kelsey Woodard’s 20.
“She reminds me of Ally Thrall a lot,’’ said Schuett, referring to Creighton’s former All-Valley point guard. “She’s not going to blow you away with her athleticism, but she’s going to do everything right.
“She works hard all the time, she hits big shots and she’s very composed.’’
Jensen admits that her fast start has exceeded her expectations only because she didn’t know what to expect coming into the season. She has become one of the first subs off the bench for a 5-1 Creighton team that faces a key game Wednesday at unbeaten Nebraska.
“Coming in as a freshman, I was just going to work as hard as I could,’’ she said. “With only having 10 players, I knew there would be a little bit more of an opportunity than at a place that might have 15 players.
“I know some games I’m going to get to play more than others, but I’m just going to keep working hard no matter what.’’
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