Published Tuesday, December 4, 2012 AT 12:23 AM / Updated at 1:39 AM
Bluejays hoping big game can jump-start Janning
Steven Pivovar Omaha World-Herald

Marissa Janning is at a loss to explain it.

How can she miss 26 of her first 30 shots in her first 4 ½ games as a Creighton Bluejay, then make 6 of 11, including three 3-point baskets, in a 25-minute span?

“I have no idea why it happened,’’ Janning said.

Janning’s performance in Creighton’s dramatic comeback victory over Brigham Young earned her the Missouri Valley newcomer of the week award on Monday. The freshman from Watertown, Minn., scored 17 of her career-high 19 points in the second half and overtime of a 65-62 win over the Cougars.

Creighton trailed by 16 points at halftime and was still behind by 14 with 7:13 to play. Janning scored six of Creighton’s final 10 points in regulation as the Bluejays rallied for a 56-56 tie that forced overtime. She added another basket in the extra period as the Creighton improved to 3-2.

The performance provided Janning with a much-needed shot of confidence after a rough start to her collegiate career. She had scored more than 3,500 points during her high-school career and set a Minnesota state record by making 458 3-point baskets.

After her first four games as a collegian, Janning had scored 12 points. She had made 3 of 25 shots from the field and started the BYU game by missing four of five field-goal attempts in the first 20 minutes.

“I was second-guessing myself,’’ Janning said. “My shots were there but I wasn’t hitting any of them. The coaches were on me to calm down and hit shots. I was really frustrated with myself.

“I knew I could play better. Even after BYU, I know I can play better but at least I’m not as frustrated.’’

Creighton coach Jim Flanery, whose team hosts Nebraska on Wednesday, was encouraged by what he saw from Janning against BYU. The Bluejays need offensive production from Janning, especially with Carli Tritz struggling to overcome back and knee problems.

“Marissa has the potential to be a really good player already this year,’’ Flanery said. “Hopefully, all she needed is one really good game to jump-start her and to get her to play with some confidence.

“She’s talented enough that one game like that can get her going and get her to be more of a factor for us. Carli’s struggling to find her game a little, and Marissa can provide us with a lot of things that Carli can do if she’s playing like she did against BYU.’’

About Steven Pivovar

Steven Pivovar is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and primarily covers Creighton athletics and the College World Series. You can follow Steven on Twitter (@PivOWH) or email him at spivovar@owh.com.