Creighton women picked to win conference

ST. LOUIS – The Creighton women's basketball was picked to win the Missouri Valley Conference as voted on by the league's coaches, sports information directors and media and announced by the league office on Monday, Oct. 29.

The Bluejays received 26 of 40 first places votes to toal 383 points in the preseason poll. Bluejay junior guard Carli Tritz was selected as the MVC Preseason Player of the Year.

The Bluejays were last voted to win the league before the 2009-10 season, when they would go on to finish second in the regular season and in the MVC Tournament. This marks the fourth time in 21 seasons as members of the MVC that the Jays have been predicted to win the title, also being tabbed preseason favorites prior to the 2002-03 and 1994-95 seasons.

The Bluejays are coming off a 20-13 season, their fourth 20-win season in the last five years, and received 26 of 40 first-place votes and 382 total points. Wichita State (347) and Illinois State (323) also received first-place votes with the Shockers grabbing 12 and the Redbirds earning two.

Northern Iowa (272) and Missouri State (265) were picked fourth and fifth respectively, while Bradley (144) was a distant sixth. The final four spots in the preseason poll went Indiana State (135), Southern Illinois (123), Drake (121) and Evansville (119).

Creighton is led by junior guard Carli Tritz, tabbed the MVC Preseason Player of the Year. She is one of four returning starters for the Bluejays. Tritz, the reigning Missouri Valley Conference Tournament MVP, ranked in the league's top-six in scoring, assists, steals and assist/turnover ratio last season. Tritz will be joined by junior Sarah Nelson (12.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg) and senior Ally Jensen (8.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg), an inside-outside combination to anchor the team with leadership. Creighton's balance and experience should once again lead to a promising season for the Bluejays.

Joining Tritz on the Valley's preseason all-conference team, are Jessica Diamond of Wichita State, Jacqui Kalin of UNI, Jamie Russell of Illinois State and Christiana Shorter of Missouri State.

This marks just the third time in MVC history that one school has been selected as the preseason favorite in both women's and the men's basketball. The two other times it happened were in 2002-03 when both Bluejay teams were tabbed to win the MVC and again in 1992-93 when Southern Illinois was picked to win both.

Preseason voters have correctly selected the conference's regular-season champion 17 times in 29 seasons, but since the poll was expanded to include sports information directors and media in 1994-95, pollsters have accurately predicted 12 of the 18 champions. Preseason favorites have played in 21 postseasons, including 14 NCAA Tournaments with one Sweet 16 and one Final Four appearance.

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