ST. CHARLES, Mo. - Senior DaNae Moore scored 11 of her career-high 15 points in the first half to help the Creighton women's basketball team defeat Northern Iowa 53-46 in the quarterfinals of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament at The Family Arena Friday afternoon. Carli Tritz logged her first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds to help the Bluejays advance to Saturday's semifinal match up against regular-season champion Missouri State.
The victory improves Creighton to 18-12 on the season and sets up a meeting with the No. 1 seeded Lady Bears on Saturday at 1:35 pm, in a game televised on Fox Sports Midwest. The loss ends UNI's season with a 16-14 record and gives Creighton a three-game sweep of the Panthers and ends UNI's two-year run as MVC Tournament champions.
Creighton scored the first four points of the game, before UNI scored the next seven to take its largest lead of the game, up 7-4. The Panthers owned their last lead at 12-11 with ten minutes remaining in the first half, before a 9-2 run gave Creighton a lead it would not surrender.
A 12-3 run capped by a traditional three-point play from Moore, put the Bluejays ahead 27-17 and Creighton would take a 30-23 lead into halftime. Moore led all players with 11 points in the first half, while Tritz had six points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals in the half.
The Jays blitzed the Panthers to start the second half, using a 10-2 run to take their largest lead of the game, up 40-25 after scoring eight consecutive points. The Panthers responded by scoring the next 11 points and used a 15-2 run over nearly an eight-minute span to get the score to 42-40. That was as close as UNI would get however, as Creighton weathered a 6:54 scoreless drought to maintain its lead.
Creighton's final five points came at the free-throw line in the final 22 seconds of the game to knock of the Panthers 53-46.
Moore finished with 15, just the fourth double-figure scoring game of her career. CU's only senior went 7-for-13 from the field and added six rebounds in the win. Tritz finished just 2-of-12 from the field, but was 6-of-9 at the line to contribute 11 points in the win. She also led the team by tying her career-high with 10 rebounds and topped the Jays with four steals and four assists.
Sarah Nelson added 10 points, seven rebounds and tied Tritz with four assists.
K.K. Armstrong led UNI with 17 points, scoring 14 in the second half to lead the UNI comeback attempt. Rachel Madrigal scored 13 points in a losing effort, while Amber Kirschbaum led all players with 12 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Creighton will look to avoid getting swept by Missouri State (22-7) when the teams meet at 1:35 pm on Saturday. The Lady Bears struggled to get by No. 8 seed Bradley in their quarterfinal, beating the Braves 58-54.
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