MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Despite a three-pointer from junior Jordan Garrison to force double overtime, the Creighton women's basketball team fell to Minnesota, 88-81 on Sunday, Dec. 30.
The loss wraps up the non-conference season for both squads as the Bluejays fell to 8-3, while Minnesota moved to 11-3.
Leading 54-37 wirh seven minutes remaining in regulation, the Jays were unable to stop Minnesota's Rachel Banham as she scored 12 of her game-high 39 points to lead the Golden Gophers on a 21-4 run to tie the game at 58-58 and force overtime.
In the first extra frame it was the Bluejays turn to fight back. Down 69-61 with 2:08 left, Creighton forced double overtime with a 11-3 run. Senior Ally Jensen got things started with a three-pointer from the right wing, then junior Carli Tritz cut it to three with two free throws to make it 69-66. After a Minnesota bucket, junior McKenzie Fujan drained a trey to make it 72-69.
A defensive stop set Creighton up for a chance to force a second overtime with 23 seconds remaining. The final play started in Tritz's hands, a ball screen by Garrison set her free on the right wing for the game tying shot.
Unfortunately, the Golden Gophers claimed the game in the second overtime as Minnesota was 5-of-8 in the final five minutes.
The first half belonged to the Jays. Down 4-2 in the opening moments, Tritz set the tone for the opening half by drilling a trey from the right wing to give the Jays their first lead at 5-4. Tritz's three-ball ignited an 12-0 Creighton run over the next three minutes to give the Bluejays a 14-4 lead with 14:34 remaining. Junior Sarah Nelson led the run with five, while Tritz had four and freshman Marissa Janning had three.
Still up 10 at 22-12, the Jays used a 7-0 spurt to extend their lead to 29-12 at the 6:31 mark. Sophomore Alexis Akin-Otiko's interior layup got the Jays rolling, then Garrison converted a running layup followed by a three-pointer from the left corner. The Bluejays extended the lead to as much as 20 points at 38-18, but a 5-0 Minnesota run in the final minute sent the Jays to the locker room with a 38-23 edge.
Nelson led Creighton with 19 points and nine rebounds, while Janning put up 18 points before fouling out in the first overtime. Rounding out the Jays in double figures, Tritz had 17 points and Garrison finished with 11.
Banham's 39 points led all scorers, while Micella Riche added 23 points for the Golden Gophers.
Despite today's tough loss at Minnesota, Creighton women's basketball's RPI is 20, and its strength-of-schedule is 18. Sunday was the first double overtime game for Creighton WBB since 2005, and just fifth time ever they'll play 50 minutes (or more).
The Jays return to action on Thursday, Jan. 3 as Creighton opens Missouri Valley Conference play against Southern Illinois in Carbondale, Ill. at 7 p.m.
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