The Creighton women’s basketball team couldn’t have picked a better game to have one of its best shooting performances of the season.
Because, according to Bluejay coach Jim Flanery, the team was unable to do anything defensively to stop Bradley.
Creighton shot better than 50 percent from 3-point range for the third time this season, making 14 of 26 (53.8 percent) from beyond the arc, and rode that wave to a 79-67 win against the Braves in front of 1,062 at Sokol Arena.
Freshman Marissa Janning scored 21 for the Bluejays, including 16 in the first half. McKenzie Fujan and Ally Jensen added 12 each as Creighton improved to 15-4 and 7-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
After a slow start in which the Bluejays trailed 32-25 with 4:20 remaining in the first half, Creighton went on a 16-1 tear to take a 41-33 lead with 1:11 left before halftime.
“Early on, we didn’t get back on defense,” Flanery said. “That was a big problem for us. We just got bailed out by 14 out of 26 from three. If we’re 10 out of 26, it’s a lot different game.”
The 18-1 Bluejay run in just over three minutes was fueled by 3-pointers from Fujan and Ally Jensen and punctuated by Sammy Jensen, who nailed back-to-back treys to put Creighton up by eight.
The Bluejays took a 43-37 lead into the locker room behind 47.1 percent shooting from the floor (16 of 34), including 8 of 15 from beyond the arc.
Janning’s 16 first-half points led all scorers as she made 7 of 12 from the field and 2 of 5 from 3-point range. Her 21 points left her one shy of her career high set against Evansville on Jan. 5.
Creighton stormed out of halftime the same way it went into it.
Ally Jensen and Carli Tritz hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and Fujan followed by driving the lane and finishing with a layup to give the Bluejays a 51-38 advantage in the first 2:04 of the half.
“We ended the first half strong, and then we started the second half strong. And those were key points,” Flanery said. “The lead went from a really tight game to us up 11 after getting the ball twice in the second half, and that was big because we needed all those because we couldn’t consistently stop them.”
The Braves kept coming back, closing the gap to 58-53 with 9:35 left on a layup by Shronda Butts.
Fujan said Flanery was stressing defense throughout the game.
“One of our things was to commit to the press in the backcourt, so that was one thing we really had to focus on,” Fujan said. “I got yelled at a few times for not doing that, but that’s all right.”
CU forward Sarah Nelson, who entered the game leading the team in scoring with 12.4 points a game, gave Creighton some breathing room with a 3-pointer to put the Jays up by double figures for good with 4:16 left at 73-63.
Nelson, who spent much of the first half in foul trouble and played 10 minutes in the half, finished with seven points.
Creighton has just one game next weekend, taking on Drake in Des Moines on Saturday.
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