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    Wildcats Are Nebraska-Bound

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Samantha McComb looks to lead the 'Cats again this year when the season gets underway Friday.
    Samantha McComb looks to lead the 'Cats again this year when the season gets underway Friday.

    Nov. 18, 2004

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    EVANSTON, Ill. - This one counts. After last week's 102-80 exhibition win over BK Poprad, the Wildcats' season gets underway Friday on the road at Creighton. The Bluejays, last season's WNIT champs, are picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference and have two exhibition wins this year.

    The Wildcats took last year's meeting between the two teams, earning a 59-41 win at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Nov. 21, 2003. Creighton leads the all-time series with Northwestern, holding a 2-1 edge.

    "Creighton is a very good team," said head coach Beth Combs. "They had a great season last year and haven't lost a beat. They lost a few players, but have filled those roles effectively.

    "We expect it to be a difficult game," she continued. "We need to play extremely well to come out with a win. Knowing that they lost to us last year on our court will serve as motivation, so we need to be ready."

    Friday's matchup also marks the first regular season game for Combs at the helm of Northwestern women's basketball. She is no stranger to collegiate basketball, having spent the last three years as Colgate's head coach, as well as having played basketball at Illinois. Her staff includes assistant coaches Jim Sexton, Tempie Brown and Catherine DiGiacinto, as well as Director of Basketball Operations Stacey Thomas.

    The exhibition game was an exciting showing for the 'Cats, who scored over 100 points for the first time since 1997. Their 52 points at halftime also topped any halftime total by NU or its opponents all of last season.

    Senior Suzanne Morrison (Franklin, Mich./Detroit Country Day) made a serious statement in her first game back in over a year after sitting out 2003-04 with an ankle injury. The forward scored 31 points and 10 boards (her single game record stands at 19 points and 10 boards, both set in 2001).

    Freshman Sara Stutz (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) had a great start to her Northwestern career, scoring 20 points with four boards and four assists. Four 'Cats scored in double figures, with Ifeoma Okonkwo (Spring, Texas/Klein Oak) (18) and rookie Melissa Miller (Bloomington, Minn./The Breck School) (10) rounding out that group.

    Creighton is led by two-time MVC Defensive Player of the Year and leading returning scorer Laura Spanheimer. Angie Janis, the Bluejays' leading rebounder, Kristi Woodard, Christy Erickson, Amy Hoffman and Codi Walker also have starting experience for the 2004 WNIT Champs.

    Jim Flanery is in his third year at Creighton and holds a 48-18 record at his alma mater.

    CU Sports Information Provided Team Information

    The Series With Creighton
    Series Record: Creighton leads 2-1
    At Evanston: Series tied 1-1
    At Omaha: Creighton leads 1-0
    Last Result: 59-41, Northwestern (Nov. 21, 2003 in Evanston)
    Series Streak: 1, Northwestern