OMAHA, Neb - The trio of seniors Sarah Nelson, McKenzie Fujan and sophomore Marissa Janning accounted for 52 points as the Creighton women's basketball team defeated #22 St. John's, 65-62, on Sunday, Feb. 23.
With the win Creighton moved to 17-10 on the season and 11-4 in BIG EAST action, while St. John's fell to 19-7 overall and 12-3 in conference play.
Down 4-2 in the opening moments (17:44), the Bluejays took control of the game via a 16-2 run over the next six minutes to claim an 18-6 advantage. Janning got the Bluejays off and rolling with back-to-back driving layups. Fujan followed suit with a scoop-to-the-hoop, making it 8-4 (15:02).
Following a Red Storm bucket, Janning knocked down two from the charity stripe. Finally Nelson took over with eight straight points on a jumper, a traditional three-point play and a trey from the right wing to cap the Bluejays' run.
Creighton's advantage grew as large as 12 (28-16) on a trey from Fujan with just under five minutes remaining in the first half (4:57). St. John's responded with five straight points (28-21 with 4:01), but Janning answered with five of her own on two free throws and three-ball from the corner to push the Bluejay lead back to 12 at 33-21 (3:19). The Bluejays took their 12-point advantage into halftime, 35-23.
The second half opened just as the first half ended, going the Bluejays' way. Creighton pushed its lead to 20-points at 50-30 (12:21) and again at 52-32 (10:56). Down the stretch the Red Storm rallied as St. John's increased its defensive pressure to pull within seven points at 58-51 (1:53).
Fujan hit two free throws to stem the rally (1:28), but St. John's rattled off five points in just 29 seconds to make it a four-point game at 60-56 (0:59). Janning hit one of two free throws to make it 61-56, but the Red Storm rally came up just short as Danaejah Grant's three-pointer clanged off the rim. Sarah Nelson grabbed the rebound and hit two free throws, 63-56 (0:25).
The Red Storm hit two desperation treys in the final 25 seconds, including one at the buzzer, but Creighton held on for the 65-62 win.
Janning led all scorers with 24 points, while Nelson finished with 15 points and five blocks. Fujan closed out the Bluejays in double-figures with 13 points. Aliyyah Handford led St. John's with 14 points in the loss.
The Bluejays' win marked their second victory over a ranked opponent at home in as many games. Creighton also bested #25 Nebraska, 66-57, on Dec. 5, 2012.
Creighton returns to the court on Wednesday, Feb. 26 as the Bluejays host Seton Hall at 7:05 pm