Creighton gets its shot Saturday at making sure the Missouri Valley Conference women’s basketball championship chase remains a race.
The Bluejays host league-leading Wichita State at 3 p.m. in Sokol Arena. The Shockers have a two-game lead on Creighton, and a victory would give them a dominating advantage heading into the regular season’s final five games.
“We need this game,” Creighton guard Marissa Janning said. “It’s our Pink Out game. It’s Wichita. We’re all excited about this one.”
About 350 tickets remained as of early Friday afternoon for the game, which will feature the Bluejays wearing pink uniforms and shoes in the annual show of support for breast cancer awareness.
Creighton coach Jim Flanery hopes the expected large crowd can have an impact on the game, but it will be up to his players to clean up the ball-security issues that led to Wichita State’s 67-45 rout Jan. 19.
The Shockers had 15 steals and forced 22 turnovers, leading to an overwhelming 23-10 advantage in points off turnovers.
“Their steals lead to a lot of transition opportunities,” Flanery said. “Our defensive effort was fine, but we just have to take care of the ball and limit our turnovers.”
The Shockers lead the Valley in forcing an average of 18.8 turnovers, three more per game than they give up. Wichita State’s average of 9.1 steals ranks third in the league.
Creighton is coming off Thursday’s 67-51 win against Missouri State in which it altered its playing rotation. Sophomore forward Alexis Akin-Otiko, who has averaged 14 minutes per game, played 21 minutes against the Lady Bears.
She’ll probably continue to see more playing time behind starters Sarah Nelson and Alyssa Kamphaus, Flanery said, as Creighton will rely less on a four-guard lineup.
“We’re going to be more of a two-post team,” Flanery said. “Alexis gives us a better chance to defend and rebound in the post. She might be able to take a foul that Sarah can’t take.
“Going with a little bigger lineup keeps us from having to double as much and could make us more effective as we move forward.”
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