The Creighton women’s basketball team opened conference play with an 81-60 road victory over the Southern Illinois Universoty Salukis Thursday night.
In winning its tenth consecutive matchup against Southern Illinois (3-9, 0-1 MVC), Creighton improved to 9-3 on the season and opened MVC play at 1-0.
The Creighton offense started slow, entering the first media timeout with the lead but only having scored three points.
The Bluejays found their offensive form just after the midway point of the first half when junior guard Jordan Garrison knocked down a go-ahead 3-pointer at the 7:22 mark. Junior forward Sarah Nelson followed up with a three-point play that put the Bluejays ahead 23-19 with 6:52 remaining. The Bluejays closed the half on an 18-10 run to take a 41-29 lead into halftime.
Creighton’s depth proved unstoppable in the second half, as the Bluejays opened with a 7-0 run and always led by more than double digits. Overall, Creighton’s bench scored 39 points. No Bluejay played more than 30 minutes, and all but one played at least 15 minutes.
Nelson led all scorers with 18 points. The back-to-back MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds, assisted four Bluejay baskets and collected two steals.
Garrison was among three other Bluejays besides Nelson to score in double digits. Garrison finished with 12 points, shooting a perfect 4-4 from the field. Freshman guard Marissa Janning scored 14 points and junior center Alyssa Kamphaus added 10.
Freshman Rishonda Napier was the top performer for the Salukis, scoring 16 points and shooting 4-5 from 3-point range. Redshirt freshman Dyana Pierre and sophomore Cartaesha Macklin added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Creighton will travel to the University of Evansville (3-9, 1-0 MVC) to finish its road trip before traveling home to face Illinois State University on Jan. 11. Evansville won its conference opener 68-62 over Drake Thursday night. Tipoff against Evansville is scheduled for Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in the Ford Center.
- The victory over Southern Illinois marked head coach Jim Flanery’s 199th win during his tenure at Creighton. Flanery passed Bruce Rasmussen’s 196-win mark to become the winningest coach in program history on Dec. 21 in the victory over Miami-Ohio at the Caribbean Classic.
- According to WarrenNolan.com, Creighton’s RPI dipped slightly to 26 following the win over Southern Illinois. Creighton is currently 3-1 against teams with an RPI from 51-100 and has one win over a top-50 RPI program (Nebraska). Plus, the Bluejays can pick up at least four more victories against teams with a top-100 RPI before the season is over.
- Is an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament possible come March?
“Maybe,” Flanery said in a text message, “We probably can’t lose more than a couple [of games] within the league.”