Omaha, Neb. - The Creighton women's basketball team outscored Northern Iowa 30-19 in the second half to extend its three-point halftime lead to pull away from the Panthers and claim a 54-40 victory at D.J. Sokol Arena on Friday, Jan. 25.
The victory lifted Creighton to 14-4 on the season and 6-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC). Northern Iowa, meanwhile, fell to 8-10 overall and 3-3 in MVC play.
Both teams struggled in the early going, but it was the Jays who struck first by nailing consecutive three pointers to claim a 6-0 lead with 15:50 remaining on the clock. Creighton never relinquished the lead, but it was a fight for much of the contest.
Northern Iowa chipped away at the Bluejays' six-point edge to pull within one point at 11-10 by 9:54. Freshman Marissa Janning rattled off four of her game-high 12 points to push the Jays back out five, 15-10. Northern Iowa got within one three more times in the opening half, but the Jays came up with the answer each time.
Up 17-16, sophomore Sammy Jensen supplied a three from the corner. Then at 22-21 in the final minute of the first half it was Janning once more with a jumper from the right elbow to send the game to the break at 24-21.
The second half was all Creighton. The Jays opened the half on an 11-4 run, pushing their lead to double digits for the first time at 35-25 with 16:17 on the clock. Four Bluejays scored during the run, led by four points from junior McKenzie Fujan. Moments later a trey from junior Sarah Nelson pushed Creighton's lead to its largest level of 12 points (43-31) with 11:31 left.
The difference proved to be Creighton's swarming defense in the final period as the Jays held Northern Iowa to just 5-of-27 (18.5%) in the final 20 minutes.
Janning's 12 points led all scorers, while Nelson finished with 10 points. Senior Ally Jensen led Creighton on the glass with 10 rebounds, helping Creighton build a 45-36 edge on the boards.
Northern Iowa's Jacqui Kalin and Hannah Schonhardt led the Panthers with nine points.
The Jays return to action on Sunday, Jan. 27, as Creighton will host the Bradley Braves at 2 p.m.