The women’s basketball team spent Thanksgiving weekend in California and moved to 3-3 on the year, beating Cincinnati before falling to No. 14 California in the 2014 Cal Classic.
The Jays finished the weekend in the championship game of the tournament against the host California Golden Bears (6-0) Saturday. The Golden Bears were the second nationally ranked team that the Bluejays faced during the week, as the team fell to No. 1 UConn on the east coast on Nov. 23.
“We want to find out what we’re made of when things aren’t going our way,” coach Jim Flanery said.
“We’re not going to play anybody as good as UConn, and we may not play anybody going forward as good as Cal. But we’re going to play good teams, and we’re going to be in situations where things are going sideways, and we’re going to need to figure out how to straighten them out.”
While the Jays eventually fell to one of the nation’s top teams 94-69, junior guard Marissa Janning earned a spot on the Cal Classic All-Tournament Team. Janning led all scorers in the championship game, notching 22 points while shooting 5 of 9 from beyond the arc.
Sophomore guard MC McGrory shot 6 of 12 from the field to finish with 12 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Freshman guard Sydney Lamberty added 11 points, three rebounds and three assists.
Junior forward Taylor Johnson picked up nine points, five rebounds and three assists in the game.
The Golden Bears led 43-28 at the half.
Cal shot more than 55 percent from the field in each half, while the Jays were limited to 28.6 percent in the first half.
Shooting 44.4 percent in the second half helped the Bluejays stay in the game, but it was not enough to keep up with the Golden Bears.
California dominated inside, outscoring the Bluejays 58-20 in the paint.
Depth also factored into the result, as the Golden Bears’ bench outscored Creighton’s non-starters 34-14.
Tournament MVP Brittany Boyd picked up 14 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in the win.
Creighton earned its spot in the tournament final by defeating the Cincinnati Bearcats 63-52 in the opening round.
After taking a slim 29-26 lead into the half, the Jays rode a dominant second half performance to victory.
Janning was the lone Bluejay in double digits, dropping 18 points in the win. Senior forward Alexis Akin-Otiko notched nine points and grabbed six rebounds for Creighton, while Lamberty racked up a team-leading six assists in the game.
Despite trailing at the half, the Bearcats shot 48 percent from the field compared to the 36.4 percent posted by the Bluejays.
“We’re a good shooting team normally, and we all know that,” Janning said. “But I think whenever we get down on ourselves, we kind of pick ourselves up in other areas like defense or even just general communication.”
In the second half, Creighton shot 43.3 percent from the field compared to the 30.8 percent put up by Cincinnati.
The Bluejay bench outscored the Bearcat bench 30-7.
The Jays grabbed 17 offensive rebounds Friday.
Having played only one home game so far, Creighton will play six of its next seven games in Omaha.
The team will begin their conference schedule with a game against the Seton Hall Pirates (5-1) on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at D.J. Sokol Arena. The Pirates were projected to finish No. 5 in the Big East in the preseason poll, while the Bluejays tabbed the No. 4 spot.
“I’m expecting a good game,” Lamberty said. “They’re definitely a good team, and we’ll have to prepare for them.
I’m excited because it’s only our second home game and our first real game of the conference season.”