CU's Senior Night a Bittersweet Celebration

Although the Jays lost to Butler, seniors Riley Norman and Carli Tritz were able to take the court.

It wasn't the ending six seniors hoped for at D.J. Sokol Arena Tuesday night against Butler. Marissa Janning led the Jays with a team-high 20-points, but that wasn't enough in the 67-59 defeat.

Freshman Brianna Rollerson recorded her second double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Creighton hadn't lost on Senior Day since 1999. The Bulldogs snapped CU's 19-game winning streak in home conference games. Butler won the first meeting in Indianapolis earlier this season and completed the sweep Tuesday night.

"It's a bummer for this group to lose on their Senior Night, but we got behind early which allowed them to control tempo," said coach Jim Flanery. "Early on, it seemed like emotions might've played a part which is always a concern on nights like these."

Janning got the team out to a 6-2 lead after hitting back-to-back 3-pointers. Butler, however, followed by going on a 15-0 run and controlled most of the game from there.

Trailing by as many as 12 at different points in the half, the Bluejays closed on a 11-4 run capped by a Lauren Works three, making it 30-25 Bulldogs at half. It was a tough opening 20 minutes for CU's other four starters: McKenzie Fujan, Sarah Nelson, Alyssa Kamphaus and Jordan Garrison, who combined to go 2-for-12 for five points.

Down five at the break, Creighton opened with an 11-3 run that put CU up one point after a Janning jumper. Butler scored the next four points, taking a three-point lead, and never looked back.

The Bulldogs built an eight-point cushion with 9:31 remaining following a 3-pointer. Fujan and Garrison kept the Jays close by connecting from deep. Twice the Jays crept within a bucket with, the last coming with 5:10 on the clock after a pair of free throws by Janning.

A 10-4 run by the visitors ended any chance of a comeback. With victory out of reach, Flanery put in two seniors whose basketball careers were derailed by knee injuries, Carli Tritz and Riley Norman. Both received standing ovations from the home crowd. Norman recorded an assist in her only action of her career, while Tritz grabbed a rebound. Unfortunately Norman's one attempt at a field goal didn't go, but her teammates still enjoyed sharing the court with her.

"I never wanted a shot to fall more, but I'm glad she got a stat for being in the game," said Nelson. "I'm also happy that Carli got in, and it felt like old times again, felt like we were out playing pickup again, but I'm really happy for both of them."

"One assist doesn't sum up the career of Riley, who's gone through so much everyday," Janning added. "While it's great that she got into the box score, it doesn't do her enough justice for what she's meant for this team and program."

CU's six seniors had varying legacies, from star players to a career consisting of a single minute of court time, but they all enrolled in the fall of 2010 and will leave in the spring of 2014, which Flanery finds unique.

"These six ladies are cornerstones of our program, which will help with how well we do going forward," said Flanery after the game. "It's neat that all six of them came in together and will graduate together that's something that doesn't seem to happen often."

Creighton ends the regular season portion of the schedule at 18-12 and 12-6 in their inaugural journey through the BIG EAST. They'll be the third seed this weekend at the conference tournament in Chicago. They'll get a rematch with the six seed, Butler (15-14, 10-8) with tipoff scheduled for 2:30 pm Sunday.

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