Trailing after the first 20 minutes of action, the Creighton Bluejays came out on fire, defeating Missouri 77-51 in opening-round action of the Women's NIT in Omaha.
Marissa Janning led all scorers with 19 points and added seven rebounds and as many assists, while Sarah Nelson tallied another double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
With their last game over a week ago, the Bluejays showed little sign of rust, racing out to an 18-6 lead with 12:27 left in the half. Nelson had five points during the opening stretch, helping her team build a double-digit advantage.
Missouri used pressure to claw back into the contest. The Tigers eventually tied the game at 28 with 4:14 before halftime. Jordan Frericks put Mizzou up 32-31 at half.
"We knew what we had at the half before the coaches spoke to the team," said senior Sarah Nelson. "Turnovers definitely factored in; eliminating them helped greatly in the second half."
Points off turnovers helped the Tigers get back into the game converting nine Bluejay turnovers into 14 points.
"I think at first we were a little surprised by it, but we were able to adjust," said Janning.
Like the start of the game, the Jays wasted little time rebuilding separation. A 22-7 run grew the one-point advantage to 15 with 9:36 on the clock. Alexis Akin-Otiko scored eight of her 10 points during that stretch.
Janning scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half, which included the sophomore becoming the third player in program history to score 1,000 career points as a sophomore, joining CU greats Kathy Hilligan and Connie Yori.
"I honestly didn't have any idea until I was told after the game. I owe it to coach Flan for allowing me the freedom he gives, my teammates obviously get a lot of credit for how they help get me good looks and some credit to my dad," Janning said laughing.
Akin-Otiko hit a jumper with 25 seconds remaining, which gave Creighton their largest lead of the evening at 26 points, and ended the scoring at 77-51. Janning, Nelson and Akin-Otiko led the team in double figures with 19, 18 and 10 points, respectively.
McKenzie Fujan, who was saddled with foul trouble most the game, finished with nine points. Alyssa Kamphaus had a strong night, scoring six points and grabbing 10 rebounds, while Brianna Rollerson also had six. Jordan Garrison scored four, Sammy Jensen three and MC McGrory added two to round out the offense.
Creighton out-rebounded their SEC foe 47-31, which included a 37-19 advantage on the defensive glass. On the game, the Jays shot 55.6 percent, while holding Mizzou to 25.9 percent in the second half.
Next up for the Bluejays is a rematch against South Dakota State on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. in Brookings, S.D. The teams met on November 12, with the Jays winning 68-63 at D.J. Sokol Arena.
"Both of us are different teams now than we were 30 games ago," said Coach Jim Flanery. "We've got confidence, having won up there last season. That said, they're a really good team at home, so we'll have to be ready to go on Sunday."
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