With the Creighton women's basketball team's Missouri Valley Conference title hopes hanging in the balance and the Bluejays rattling the ball off the iron at an eye-popping pace, Bluejay coach Jim Flanery said he told his team to just keep shooting the ball from way out.
The Jays, who set a Valley record with 44 3-point shot attempts in the game, didn't make many but did make enough at the end as they survived a 74-69 overtime scare from seventh-place Evansville in front of 738 at D.J. Sokol Arena.
After hitting just 4 of 20 from 3-point range in the first half and 10 of 39 headed to overtime, the Bluejays were 3 of 5 in overtime, including 3 of 3 in the final 2:09 as they overcame a six-point deficit with 2:43 remaining.
With Evansville packed in a zone defense, Flanery said he felt his team's best chance of winning was to keep firing from long distance.
“I just felt like that's kind of who we are,” he said. “To be honest, we had not prepared that much for zone because (Evansville) hadn't played much zone at all.
“We got a lot of good shots. We just did not make anything in the first half.”
Creighton, which improved to 22-6 overall and 14-3 in the Valley, now sits atop the league standings tied with Wichita State with one game remaining.
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The Bluejays end their season at home Saturday against last-place Southern Illinois while the Shockers' finale is Saturday at Missouri State.
If Wichita State and Creighton remain tied after Saturday, the schools will share the Valley title, but the Shockers would win the tie-breaker and be the top seed at the MVC tournament based on the conference's power rating system.
Sarah Nelson, who had 20 points, 11 rebounds and six assists to lead the Bluejays in all three categories, said it was just a matter of probability that some shots would have to fall at the rate the Jays were firing.
“It's just one of those things that you got to realize that you got to kind of play the percentages and know that you can't shoot that bad for that long,” she said.
The Jays trailed 65-59 in overtime, but Alexis Akin-Otiko hit a layup to make it 65-61.
Marissa Janning got the Jays to within a point with a 3-pointer, and Ally Jensen tied it at 67-67 on a trey with 1:22 left in overtime.
Nelson added another 3 with 43 seconds left to give the Bluejays a 70-67 advantage and then picked off a pass by Chelsea Falkenstein on the Purple Aces' ensuing possession with 19 seconds left.
Four other Bluejays scored in double figures as McKenzie Fujan scored 13, Janning had 12, Jensen added 11 and Carli Tritz had 10.
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