OMAHA, Neb - The Creighton women's basketball team bounced back from down 18 points early in the second half against Brigham Young, but fell just short of a comeback win, falling 52-51 to the Cougars.
The loss dropped Creighton to 4-4 on the season, while BYU moved to 8-0 overall.
The Bluejays jumped out to an early 8-3 lead in the opening moments as senior McKenzie Fujan led the opening burst with four points. BYU responded with a 14-2 run to claim a 17-10 lead with 9:38 remaining in the opening half.
Creighton rallied with five straight on a hook shot from senior Alyssa Kamphaus and a three-pointer by senior Sarah Nelson, but BYU pushed its lead out to double-digits at 29-19 (3:52) and took a 31-22 in at halftime.
Early in the second half the Bluejays found themselves on the wrong end of an 8-0 run as Creighton trailed BYU 40-22 at the 16:44 mark.
Recalling their 17-point rally with just less than eight minutes last season, which resulted in a 65-62 (ot) win, the Bluejays began a long climb back into the game.
Creighton guards, sophomore Marissa Janning and freshman Lauren Works got the Jays rolling as Janning hit three-of-four free throws and Works followed a three-pointer with a driving traditional three-point play. The nine-point effort from the duo surrounded a BYU layup, cutting the deficit to 42-31 (13:09). Fujan rattled off the ensuing five points to bring the Jays and the crowd to life, making it 42-36 (8:26).
BYU appeared to regain control with four quick points in response (46-36), but the Janning refused to let the rally go. She responded with four free throws split by her first three-pointer to make it a 46-43 contest with 5:01 remaining.
The two squads traded blows down the stretch as Jennifer Hamson scored four of her team-high 20 points in the final five. Janning, meanwhile, continued to push Creighton, scoring four of her team-best 20 points down the stretch.
Trailing 52-49 with 32 seconds remaining, Janning was fouled on the outside to prevent a three-point shot. Janning sank both free throws and Creighton responded by fouling BYU's Stephanie Rovetti, who promptly missed the front-end of a 1-and-1.
Without a timeout, Nelson grabbed the rebound for the Bluejays and got the ball ahead to Janning in the frontcourt. Janning found Fujan along the left corner. Fujan elevated and drew contact, but her shot glanced off the rim to close the game at 52-51 in favor of BYU.
While Janning's 20 points led Creighton, Nelson finished just shy of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds for the Bluejays.
Hamson finished with 20 points for BYU, while Lexi Eaton posted 19 points.
Creighton returns to action on Saturday, Dec. 14 as the Bluejays travel down I-80 to face their intrastate rival Nebraska at 11 am.