Creighton (1-1) women's basketball opened the home portion of their schedule against South Dakota State (0-2) on Tuesday night at D.J. Sokol Arena with a 68-63 victory.
Marissa Janning led the team with 20 points, including a timely 3-pointer that gave the Bluejays their final lead with less than a minute left in the game. Even though the sophomore had missed a shot from behind the arc on the Jays' previous possession, her coach wanted her to looking to score again.
"She just missed a three on the previous possession that hit the back iron, but that's a shot we want her to take when that wide open," said head coach Jim Flanery.
After a disappointing road loss to Drake on Friday, the CU made sure there wasn't a repeat performance. The Jays trailed by as many as nine and had a lead of seven in the game before earning the gritty win over the Jackrabbits.
"We knew we had to pick each other up and play with more energy than we had Friday night," said Janning.
Trailing most of the first half, Creighton closed on a 14-5 run to take a 36-34 lead to the locker room. Janning lead her team with 12 points in the opening half on 4-of-8 shooting from the field, 2-of-4 from three and added two free throws. Sarah Nelson and McKenzie Fujan had eight points apiece in the opening half. SDSU was lead by Megan Waytashek who had 11 first-half points. The visitors outscored the CU bench 12-4 in the first half, which allowed them to hang tough.
After shooting 51.7% in the first 20 minutes, the Jays got off to a rough start in the second half, hitting just one of their first 10 attempts. Cold shooting led to a deficit of as many as five points. Creighton trailed 47-44 with 9:34 remaining before Sarah Nelson made layups on back-to-back trips. Jordan Garrison connected from behind the arc on CU's next possession, putting the hosts up 51-47.
Alexis Akin-Otiko scored nine of her 13 points in the second half, which helped maintain the Bluejays lead. SDSU produced a run with 2:40 left, erasing the Jays lead and owning a one-point lead. With 47 seconds left, Janning buried a triple from the corner, giving CU the lead for good. Janning and Akin-Otiko combined to hit 7-of-8 free throws in the last 33 seconds to seal the victory over a pesky Jackrabbits team.
Nelson finished with 16 points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds on a night SDSU outrebounded the Jays by 13. The rebounding performance surprised CU's head coach.
"Didn't think we'd struggle like we did tonight and it showed in the stats that we did. Credit them for being a physical team," Flanery said.
The Bluejays can count on another tough test when Minnesota visits on Saturday for 1:05 p.m. tip. The game can be heard on 1180 KZOT Zone2 for those who can't make it out. Creighton will have revenge on the mind after it let a 17-point lead slip away at Minnesota last year. With a game at Kansas scheduled for Sunday, the Jays will face stiff competition in their next two games, which could pay off later.
"Flan schedules hard, and this game will be great prep for Saturday and will help get us ready for BIG EAST play," said Nelson.
Janning Triple Lifts Jays Above Jackrabbits
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