LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Led by 25 points from senior Sarah Nelson, the Creighton women's basketball team defeated Oregon State, 70-62, in the Bluejays' opening game in the Duel in the Desert Tournament on Thursday, Dec. 19.
The win lifted Creighton to 5-5 on the season, while Oregon State fell to 6-3 overall.
Committed to getting the ball inside, Creighton posted senior Alyssa Kamphaus for a short jumper on the first possession to take a 2-0 lead. Oregon State came right back on the next possession to take the lead 3-2 on a trifecta by Ali Gibson. It was the Beavers only lead of the game as the Bluejays went right back to Kamphaus for another seven-foot jumper, keying a 14-4 Creighton run to push the Bluejays out to an 16-7 edge at the 11:05 mark. Nelson delivered six points to lead the Bluejays' charge, while sophomore Marissa Janning and freshman Lauren works each added a trey.
Creighton's plan to create offense by driving the ball to the basket worked to perfection in the opening period as the Bluejays pushed their lead to as much as 17 (35-18) late in the first half, but Oregon State gained a measure of momentum with a three-pointer in its final possession to make it 35-21 at halftime.
Despite entering the game shooting over 40% from three-point land, the Bluejays limited Oregon State to just 4-of-17 (24%) from beyond the arc in the opening frame.
The Beavers came out of halftime with a 5-1 burst, cutting the Creighton advantage to just 10 points at 36-26 (16:58). Janning responded by driving to the basket to earn two free throws. Oregon State, however, kept charging to make it a 40-34 contest with 13:44 remaining.
Creighton's seniors rose to the challenge as Nelson and Jordan Garrison delivered back-to-back buckets to push the Jays lead back to double-digits at 44-34 (11:49).
Oregon State rallied with six straight to get as close as the Beavers had been since midway through the opening period 44-40 (9:38). Over the next six minutes the two squads went back and forth, setting the stage for a furious finish.
Leading 57-54 with 3:07 showing on the clock, Nelson converted a driving layup along the right side of the bucket and finished off the traditional three-point play to make it 60-54 (2:06). After a defensive stop, Nelson converted another interior bucket, giving Creighton a 62-54 edge.
Oregon State, though, wasn't done just yet. The Beavers scored on a driving layup from Samantha Siegner with 1:01 and called a timeout to set up their defense. Oregon State came back on the floor, turning consecutive Bluejay turnovers into points to make it 62-61 with 39 seconds on the clock.
Creighton refused to fold, getting the ball to Janning along the corner to draw a Beaver foul. Janning calmly drained both shots from the charity stripe, then Nelson sealed the game by stealing a Beaver pass near mid-court.
A series of Bluejay free throws made the final score appear more definitive, 70-62.
Nelson's 25 led all scorers, while Janning added 22 points for the Bluejays.
Oregon State got 20 points from Jamie Weisner and 11 from Ali Gibson.
Both squads continue play in the Duel in the Desert Tournament on Friday, Dec. 20 as Oregon State battled host, UNLV, at 7 pm (CT) and the Bluejays take on Clemson at 9:30 pm (CT).