ST. CHARLES, Mo. - The Creighton women's basketball team suffered a 64-61 overtime loss to Illinois State in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Saturday, March 16.
Creighton closed out the regular-season with a 24-7 record, while Illinois State advanced to face Wichita State in the MVC Championship on Sunday, March 17 at 2 p.m.
A difficult first half resulted in a 29-18 deficit, but the Bluejays came back with a flurry to open the second period.
After trading buckets in opening seconds, Creighton went on a 22-4 run to earn a 42-35 lead. Senior Ally Jensen drilled a three-ball in the left corner to start the Jays' comeback, then junior McKenzie Fujan took over. Fujan converted a running jumper from the right wing, followed by a trey from left wing. She converted another 10-footer to pulled the Jays within three at 33-30 with 16:27 remaining.
Illinois State converted two free throws and a bucket from Janae Smith, but the Jays kept coming. Jensen dropped two trifectas around a driving bucket by Fujan to push the Jays out to their first lead, 38-35, with 14:27 on the clock. The Bluejays capped the run with a driving layup from junior Carli Tritz and a layup from Jensen at 12:37.
Creighton continued to fire on all cylinders offensively into the final five minutes as the Jays extended their lead to 55-46 with 5:20 to play. Unfortunately it was the Redbirds that found the final run, knotting the game on a 9-0 to end regulation.
Illinois State also scored the three points of the extra period on a long three-pointer from Candace Sykes. The Redbirds went on to build a 61-57 lead in the closing moments and eventually took the game, 64-61.
Fujan led Creighton with a career-high 22 points, while A. Jensen finished with 18.
Illinois State got 18 points and 12 rebounds from Sykes.
Creighton now must await the deserved at-large bid from the NCAA Tournament on Monday, March 18.