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Archive for Sunday, December 15, 2002

Sophomore picks up slack for Jays

December 15, 2002

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Creighton's Christy Neneman, the 2001-02 Missouri Valley Conference women's basketball player of the year, averaged 17.8 points and 8.2 rebounds before Saturday's game against Kansas University.

The Jayhawks held Neneman to 14 points and two rebounds, but sophomore guard Laura Spanheimer picked up the slack with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting in the Bluejays' 72-58 victory over the Jayhawks.

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"She gives us lots of toughness," Creighton coach Jim Flanery said. "When Christy doesn't play quite as well, it's nice that we have someone like Laura who's consistent."

Neneman played just 10 minutes in the first half because she was whistled for her third foul with just less than six minutes remaining. She played just 10 more minutes in the second half, fouling out with just more than six minutes left.

"I don't think some of the fouls should have been called, but oh well," Neneman said. "It's just nice to see everyone step up, especially Spanny."

Spanheimer helped hold off Kansas (4-3) by making three of five three-point attempts after halftime. Her 20 points were one less than her career high.

Creighton (4-2) forced Kansas into 17 first-half turnovers and led 33-24 at halftime.

Flanery said the Bluejays' full-court press and trapping defense forced Kansas' post players to handle the ball more, causing turnovers.

"Against bigger teams, that's what we have to do," he said. "That's our strength of play. That's what our press is designed to do."

Although the Jayhawks' had more height, Creighton outrebounded Kansas 30-26. The Bluejays had 14 offensive rebounds and added 15 points in the paint to the Jayhawks' five.

Flanery said the defensive pressure made for tired Jayhawks, which led to more Bluejay rebounds.

"We're not a great rebounding team," Flanery said. "But we do some things defensively that help. Those things translate into getting to the ball. Rebounding is about not being tired, not just tall."

After pressing most of the first half, Creighton didn't play tired after halftime and outscored Kansas 39-34.

"In the last 10 minutes, every time we gave something up, we came back and had an answer," Flanery said. "Our offensive composure was pretty good."

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