The lone exhibition game for the Creighton women’s basketball team turned out better than expected for two of the Bluejays’ returning starters who had missed considerable preseason practice time due to injury.
Carli Tritz, the MVC preseason player of the year, and McKenzie Fujan had both been slowed by back injuries.
Tritz had also been nursing a sore knee that she had surgery on before last season.
Fujan saw 17 minutes of playing time and Tritz was able to log 15 minutes on the court as the Bluejays thumped Division II Southwest Minnesota State 90-60 in front of 484 at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Creighton coach Jim Flanery said he had planned to play Tritz only about 10 minutes, but he had talked to the team physician before the game and was told Tritz could probably play more minutes.
“It’s good to have Carli out there. She’s rusty and wasn’t probably as aggressive as we’re going to need her to be, obviously,” Flanery said. “But she’s only practiced one time in the last 15 or so days, so that’s to be expected.”
Tritz scored just one point but led the Jays in assists and steals with five each.
After taking a hard spill early in the second half, Tritz said she had no problems recovering.
“I’m fine,” she said. “Come on. I get back up, feel good. It’s all fine.”
Sarah Nelson led the Bluejays with 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range.
Alexis Akin-Otiko scored 18 while Alyssa Kamphaus added 15 for Creighton. Akin-Otiko also led the Jays with eight rebounds.
The Bluejays opened the game by racing to a 14-2 lead and built as much as a 26-point lead at 44-18 with 1:57 remaining in the half.
Nelson led the Bluejays with 11 points in the first half and Kamphaus had 12 as Creighton shot 57.1 percent from the floor in securing a 48-24 halftime lead.
But Flanery wasn’t happy with the way the Bluejay defense started the second half as the Mustangs nailed two 3-pointers out of the gate. He pulled the starters off the floor.
“I thought we were bad in the first couple minutes of the half, and that’s why I yanked the starters,” Flanery said.
The Jays open the season Nov. 10 when they host No. 12 Oklahoma.
“Our on-ball defense has to get better. We let them drive the ball at us a little easier than they should,” Flanery said. “I’m guessing Oklahoma’s going to be quicker than these guys.”