Creighton women's basketball coach Jim Flanery hopes his team's nonconference schedule, featuring power-conference opponents like Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Minnesota, will translate into experience and wins when it comes to playing Missouri Valley Conference foes.
For now, those matchups are only inflating the number in the loss column.
After a season-opening 69-48 loss to then-No. 12 Oklahoma, the Bluejays took another one on the chin from a rated team, dropping a 58-48 decision to No. 22 Kansas Sunday in front of 1,168 at Sokol Arena.
Creighton (2-2) shot 32 percent from the floor in the first half as Kansas built a 30-18 lead at the break.
The Bluejays outscored the Jayhawks 30-28 after halftime, and Sarah Nelson, who along with McKenzie Fujan and Carli Tritz led Creighton with 11 points, said the team will take that second-half effort as a positive going forward.
“You have to look at the positives,” Nelson said. “We take away that, but also the fact that we have to put together a full game.”
Kansas capitalized on the Bluejays' mistakes in the first half, outscoring them 16-0 on points off turnovers.
Flanery said turnovers become even more lethal against teams like Kansas.
“We weren't very good out of the gate on either end,” Flanery said. “We gave up transition baskets and turned the ball over, and that was the difference.
“Your margin for error shrinks. They expose you when you're not as good as you need to be.”
Creighton made it interesting in the second half, going on a 16-5 run after trailing 51-32 with 8:24 remaining. It slashed the lead to 56-48 with 1:41 left on a layup by Fujan, but the deficit proved to be too much to overcome.
Carolyn Davis and Monica Engelman led the Jayhawks (5-0) with 12 points each, many of which came from inside the paint as the Jayhawks outscored Creighton 32-18 inside.
The Bluejays double-teamed Davis almost every time she touched the ball. The 6-foot-3 forward entered the game leading Kansas with 19.5 points per game.
Flanery said he liked the way his team limited Davis to 7.5 points below her average.
“She scores close to 20 points a game, and she does that against double-teams and schemes that are slanted to try to take her away,” Flanery said. “So we did a decent job on her. She changes the game because she's good enough that you got to cheat from somewhere.”
Kansas jumped to a 16-4 lead with 12:09 remaining in the first half before a 3-pointer by Nelson and a jumper by Tritz made it 16-9.
But that was as close as Creighton would get the rest of the way.
The Bluejays travel to BYU Wednesday then return home a week later to host Nebraska.