A six-game win streak begun by a late rally and overtime win against BYU on Nov. 28 ended Sunday afternoon when the University of Minnesota came from behind to defeat Creighton in double overtime 88-81.
The loss to Minnesota marked the first road loss for the Bluejays this season. The Bluejays, who finished nonconference play at 8-3, had been 3-0 in true road games and 3-0 in games played at neutral sites before Sunday’s contest.
Minnesota concluded its nonconference schedule at 11-3.
The Golden Gophers opened the game with a 4-2 lead, the only lead Minnesota would hold in regulation, at the 17:29 mark. Creighton responded with a 10-0 run to open a lead the Bluejays would stretch to 20 points on a 3-pointer by freshman guard and Minnesota native Marissa Janning with 50 seconds remaining before the break.
The Bluejays led 38-23 at halftime.
Creighton maintained its double-digit lead over the Golden Gophers most of the second half; however, a 19-4 Minnesota run in the closing 6:42 tied the game at 58 and forced overtime.
The reversed momentum in favor of the Golden Gophers continued in the opening three minutes of the overtime period, and Minnesota opened up an 8-point lead. Three-pointers from senior guard Ally Jensen and junior guard McKenzie Fujan, as well as a pair of free throws from junior guard Carli Tritz, brought the Jays within striking distance. A timely missed free throw by Minnesota — in fact, the only free throw the Golden Gophers would miss the entire game — opened the door for junior guard Jordan Garrison, who sank an NBA-range three-pointer to force the game into a second overtime.
Garrison connected on a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the second overtime period as well, but the Bluejays had fallen behind too far for the basket to make a difference.
Garrison finished the game with 11 points on 3-8 shooting from beyond the arc.
Junior forward Sarah Nelson, named Missouri Valley conference player of the week following her performance at the Caribbean Classic, led the Bluejays in both scoring and rebounding with 19 points and nine rebounds.
The other two Bluejays scoring in double-digits were Janning with 18 points and Tritz, who contributed 17 points and led the Bluejays with seven assists.
Minnesota sophomore Rachel Banham led the Golden Gophers with a career-high 39 points, five steals and four assists. Banham scored 33 points in the second half and the two overtime periods.
Junior Micaella Riche shot 11-15 from the field and added 23 points in the Golden Gophers’ victory.
The Bluejays take to the road to open conference play on Thursday at Southern Illinois University. Creighton will conclude its road trip with a game Saturday against the University of Evansville before returning to D.J. Sokol Arena to face Illinois State University on Friday, Jan. 11.