Creighton adopted a simple strategy in Wednesday’s victory against Georgetown.
Give Marissa Janning the ball. See Marissa Janning score.
The sophomore guard had a career-high 38 points in the Bluejays’ 75-61 victory in front of 1,227 at Sokol Arena. Janning’s performance tied the arena scoring record set earlier this season by teammate McKenzie Fujan.
“When Marissa was going off, I think that’s the mindset you have to have as a team,” Creighton forward Sarah Nelson said. “I’m sure that is what it’s like playing with Doug. Get the ball to the person who can’t miss the shot.”
“Doug,” of course, is Doug McDermott, the two-time All-American on the Creighton men’s team. Janning turned in a McDermott-like performance, shooting 13 of 23 and hitting five 3-pointers.
The fact that Janning’s big night, like many of McDermott’s, came within the flow of the offense surprised both her and coach Jim Flanery when they checked the box score after the game.
“It was a sneaky 38,” Flanery said. “Maybe not quiet but it didn’t seem like she scored as many as she did.”
Janning scored 15 points in the opening half. She made 7 of 13 shots, including 3 of 5 3-point attempts. She had 23 of Creighton’s 43 points in the second half, going 6 of 10 from the field and 2 of 4 from beyond the arc.
“It didn’t feel like it was one of those nights where I was just chucking it up and everything fell in,” Janning said. “It was more like we were working within our offense. I took my open opportunities, and when they’re playing zone, that’s a lot for the guards.”
Overall, CU made 11 of 29 shots from 3-point range against the Hoyas, who played a zone defense for the majority of the night. When Georgetown switched to a man-to-man late in the game, Janning scored on several drives to the basket.
She also made 7 of 8 free throws on a night when her teammates went 7 of 17 from the line. She also chipped in a career-high nine boards in helping Creighton almost win the rebound battle against the taller Hoyas. Georgetown finished with a 37-35 edge on the boards.
“They’re really good in the post,” Janning said. “Our posts have to worry about boxing them out, so it’s important for us smaller guards to go in there and get rebounds.
“They did all the work in boxing out, and I just went in there and grabbed them.”
Nelson led the Bluejays with 10 rebounds to go along with 12 points and six assists. Creighton also got a career-high 10 points from freshman Lauren Works, who made a pair of 3-pointers and four clutch free throws down the stretch.
Creighton, which led 32-28 at the half, built 10-point leads at the 12:30, 10:07 and 8:33 marks but had trouble shaking the Hoyas (7-16, 1-10 Big East). Georgetown managed to cut its deficit to 56-53 before Works buried a 3-pointer with 6:23 to play. Janning then made two free throws and a layup to hike the lead back to 10.
The Hoyas cut the lead in half with 1:24 to play but Works made four free throws to push the lead back to nine with 57 seconds remaining. Creighton then sealed the win that left it 14-9 and 8-3 in the league by making 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch.
“Lauren was a good free-throw shooter in high school, and we have some kids who are obviously a little bit mental from the free-throw line right now,” said Flanery, whose team missed 9 of its first 11 attempts from the line. “It’s like that 3- or 4-foot putt. The more you make, the more you think you’re going to make.
“And the more you miss, the more you think you’re going to miss it. Lauren has had success making free throws, so she walks up there thinking she’s going to make them. She’s wired a little looser than some people, and I think that helps you make free throws at the end of close games.”
Georgetown got 17 points from Andrea White but Creighton limited 6-foot-5 freshman center Natalie Butler to 13 points on four shots from the field. She had 25 in the Bluejays’ 65-63 overtime win Jan. 1 at Georgetown. Butler did grab a game-high 14 rebounds.
“A lot of times, those 6-5 girls have the size but they don’t have the skill set,” Nelson said. “She does. We just tried to crowd her and make sure she didn’t get a lot of rebounds.
“She probably got too many rebounds but it’s better than having her score 25 like last time.”