CARBONDALE, Ill. — Sarah Nelson started the new year just as she had ended the old one.
The 6-foot junior forward led the Creighton women in scoring for the third straight game as the Jays defeated Southern Illinois 81-60 in front of 297 Thursday night.
Nelson had 18 points on eight of 14 shooting after scoring 29 and 19, respectively, in her last two outings prior to Creighton’s Missouri Valley Conference season opener in Carbondale.
The Omaha Westside alum also had a game-high eight rebounds to lead the Jays for the eighth consecutive game. Guard Ally Jensen was the last player other than Nelson to lead the team on the glass, with five board against Kansas on Nov. 25.
Nelson was just part of the offensive success as Creighton scored at least 40 points in each half for the second time in three games.
The Jays shot their third-best percentage of the season at just over 54 percent. Marrissa Janning and Jordan Garrison helped the cause by combing for 26 points on 10 of 14 shooting.
Creighton dominated in the paint outscoring the Salukis 36-22. The Jays also scored the game’s only 11 fast break points.
Southern Illinois was led by Rishonda Napier’s 16 points, 12 coming from 3s.
The win gave Creighton its 10th straight win against the Salukis and improved head coach Jim Flanery’s Valley opener record to 8-3.