Wednesday night, the Creighton women's basketball team (11-7, 5-1 BIG EAST) returned home to the friendly confines of D.J. Sokol Arena for a contest against Xavier (7-10, 2-3 BIG EAST), winning 79-50. Marissa Janning led the way for the Bluejays by scoring 29 points and leading five players in double-figures for the home team.
It took the Jays nearly four minutes to get on the board. With Creighton trailing 5-0, Janning hit a jumper with 16:02 left in the first half. Creighton took their first lead at 10-7 before Xavier took a 17-16 lead, which was the visitors' last lead of the contest.
The Bluejays held the Musketeers scoreless for most of the following seven minutes, turning a one-point deficit into a 28-17 lead. CU ended the half up by ten points at 32-22 and shot 52 percent in the half.
In the second half, the Creighton defense continued to set the tone, forcing turnovers and converting them into easy baskets. The Jays led by 13 points or more for most of the half with the high mark being 31 points in the waning seconds of the game.
Benefitting from the ball freely moving around on offense was Alexis Akin-Otiko, who scored six of her 10 points in the second half on 3-of-5 shooting. Brianna Rollerson had 14 points, 10 of which came in the second half on scores around the hoop. The Bluejays' head coach was impressed by the contributions he received from some of his reserves.
"We know Bri can finish around the basket and we got her the ball in good positions which lead to easy baskets for us and her," said coach Jim Flanery. "Alexis did a little bit of everything for us offensively, shooting jumpers then bringing it in for easier baskets and also got us some rebounds."
Also scoring in double-figures were McKenzie Fujan with 11 and Sarah Nelson who added 12.
Janning, who was 11-of-17 from the field and 3-of-6 from deep, scored 12 points in the first half and 17 more in the second half for her 29-point night. The sharpshooter came up one point shy of her second consecutive 30-point performance but insisted that wasn't on her mind.
"Wasn't really thinking about that. We just want wins, and wherever the offense is coming from we'll take it," said the sophomore.
Creighton outscored Xavier 32-12 in points in the paint, but it was the pressure the Jays forced that led to easy baskets. The Bluejays forced 20 Musketeer turnovers, as opposed to only six CU turnovers.
In the game, Flanery's team shot 54.8 percent. XU was held to 45 percent shooting, but it was the turnovers that proved to be too much to overcome.
"Wanted to force turnovers and when we forced them it gave us confidence the entire game which we were able to turn into offense."
Next up for the Bluejays will be a Saturday trip to Indianapolis against the Butler Bulldogs at 5 p.m. central.
Janning's 29 the Difference between CU and XU
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