Women's Basketball Wins Home Opener, 68-63, Over SDSU
OMAHA, Neb. -- Marissa Janning had eight points in the final minute, including a go-ahead three-pointer with 48.6 seconds left, to lead the Creighton Women's Basketball team to a 68-63 win over South Dakota State on Tuesday night before 856 at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Creighton won its home opener for the 26th time in 40 tries to improve to 1-1 on the year, while SDSU fell to 0-2.
The game was tightly contested for much of the first half. SDSU led 20-18 before a 7-0 run that included a Megan Stuart three-pointer followed by a rare technical foul on the Bluejay bench. Megan Waytashek converted both foul shots to give the Jackrabbits a 27-18 lead, its largest of the night, but the controversial call seemed to spark the Bluejays.
Creighton would quickly answer with an 11-2 run that included baskets from four different women to knot the score at 29-all. A short time later Janning drilled a corner three-pointer to give CU a 32-31 edge, its first lead since 9-8, and the Jays would hold a 36-34 lead at intermission.
Sarah Nelson took over in the second half for CU, scoring baskets on four straight trips, as part of another 11-2 spurt capped by a deep three-pointer from fellow senior Jordan Garrison. SDSU's Steph Paluch stemmed the momentum with a lay-up, by CU's Sammy Jensen would sink a three-ball from the left corner to provide her team's largest lead yet, 54-49, with 6:22 left.
The Jackrabbits fought back, scoring on four straight trips to draw within one at 58-57 after Gabby Boever's steal and score. Boever missed the foul shot, but the visitors grabbed the board and found Mariah Clarin for an easy lay-in to retake a 59-58 lead with 2:40 left.
Both teams came up empty on its next two ensuing possessions, and Creighton would get the ball back with 1:10 left after forcing a shot clock violation. After several ball reversals, McKenzie Fujan drove towards the hoop and found an open Janning, who sank a three-pointer from the right-wing with 48.6 seconds left to give CU a 61-59 lead it would never surrender.
SDSU would then turn it over and be forced to foul Janning with 33.6 left. The sophomore sank both shots to give CU a two-score lead at 65-61. The Jackrabbits would hurry the ball upcourt and miss a lay-up. CU's Alexis Akin-Otiko drained two more foul shots with 24.6 left to go up by six. After an SDSU score, Janning sank two more at the stripe with 12.3 left.
In all, CU would sink 7-of-8 foul shots down the stretch to hold off the annual Summit League contenders for the fifth time in as many meetings.
Janning led Creighton with 20 points and dished a career-high eight assists, while also adding five rebounds. Nelson would turn in 16 minutes, six rebounds and five assists while battling foul trouble all night. Akin-Otiko also played well off the bench with 13 points and five rebounds in 26 minutes of work. The Bluejays shot 47.2 percent from the field, 30.4 percent from downtown and 11-of-14 at the line.
South Dakota State was paced by 17 points from Paluch, while Clarin had 12 points and seven rebounds. Also in double-figures was Waytashek with 11 points.
Creighton returns to the court on Saturday with a home game vs. Minnesota at 1:05 p.m.
NOTES: Jim Flanery's technical foul was the first by a Creighton player or coach since moving to D.J. Sokol Arena, as the last one came Feb. 27, 2009 and was assessed to Kristina Voss. It was Flanery's fourth career technical foul in 354 games and his first since Nov. 17, 2008 ...Creighton has won 16 straight home games when leading at half, and is now 37-2 under Jim Flanery at D.J. Sokol Arena in that situation.