Creighton nearly secured an upset win over DePaul in a game just before Christmas. The Jays didn’t miss their chance Saturday.
CU knocked off the Blue Demons 83-72 in Chicago, boosted by 27 points from freshman Emma Ronsiek and a near-double-double by senior Temi Carda (18 points and eight assists).
It was the third straight win for Creighton and its first over a ranked opponent this season. No. 19 DePaul (13-5, 10-3) previously had lost to No. 1 Connecticut (twice), No. 3 Louisville and No. 5 Texas A&M.
“It’s an exhilarating win for us,” Carda said. “It feels great. There was a lot of emotion (Saturday) and a lot of energy. I’m really proud of the way our team played.”
Creighton’s won three road games in a row at DePaul, dating back to Carda’s sophomore year. And it was two months ago in Omaha that the Jays (7-8, 6-5) held a three-point lead heading into the fourth quarter against these Blue Demons, but DePaul erupted for 30 points over the final 10 minutes to earn a 90-81 win.
Ronsiek scored 28 points in that Dec. 22 defeat. She was the centerpiece of the CU offense again Saturday.
The 6-foot-1 forward from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, finished 9 of 12 from the floor, making all three of her 3-pointers and all six of her free throws. Her last triple, off a cross-court pass from Carda, made it 76-62 with 2:59 left, essentially icing the victory for Creighton.
“To have a freshman who brings that scoring mentality is something not a lot of teams have,” Carda said. “She can hit from all over the floor. As long as she’s confident in herself, she knows that we — all of her teammates — have that confidence in her, too.”
Ronsiek did much of her damage after halftime, when the Jays held off DePaul’s comeback attempts and even stretched their advantage to as many as 17 points.
It wasn’t always pretty for CU, which actually trailed 11-4 in the early going and finished with 22 turnovers.
Creighton was playing without two of its better ball-handlers (senior Tatum Rembao and freshman Molly Mogensen) on Saturday because of injury. The Jays haven’t been full strength for much of the season.
But that’s what impressed coach Jim Flanery most about the win.
The Jays have dealt with schedule disruptions, injuries and a lengthy COVID-19 pause during an unusual season. Players are playing out of position. Roles are constantly changing. Yet they’re still competing.
“Over the last month and a half, when I think it would have been easy to become a little bit less invested — that’s the most gratifying thing, we’ve hung together and gotten better,” Flanery said.
The Jays next play at Marquette on Monday.