Senior Emily Leer scored 18 points and Villanova used an 11-2 run late in the second half to defeat the Creighton women’s basketball team 61-53 in the final game of the regular season on Sunday.
With the loss, Creighton ended the Big East regular-season schedule with a 10-8 record (17-12 overall) and clinched the No. 5 seed in next weekend’s Big East Tournament.
Villanova finished 12-6 in conference play and earned the No. 3 seed with the win and a St. John’s loss to Xavier.
Following a jumper by junior guard Marissa Janning that tied the game at 45, Leer made two free throws to give Villanova the lead for the rest of the game. Her third 3-pointer of the game put the Wildcats in front 56-47 with 2:29 to play.
“It was a tight game for 35 minutes,” head coach Jim Flanery said. “You can’t get down eight or 10 against [Villanova] because they’re just too hard to play from behind against.”
Villanova spread out the Creighton defense during Sunday’s game. The Wildcats made four layups behind the Bluejay defense during a four-minute span in the second half.
“They got way too many back-cut layups off their five-out,” Flanery said. “There was a stretch where they got about four of them in a six or seven possession sequence.”
Leer led four Villanova players with double-figure scoring on senior day.
Creighton led 25-24 at the half and limited the Wildcats to 31 percent shooting from the field (9 of 29).
“We communicated better; we took our players to the screen,” Flanery said.
Janning led the Jays with 13 points and senior forward Alexis Akin-Otiko added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Creighton held a 44-28 rebound advantage, but lost the turnover margin. The Jays had 16 giveaways compared to Villanova’s five.
The Bluejays led the entire first half, but Villanova took its first lead on the third possession of the second half.
Sunday’s game featured five ties and seven lead changes.
"This isn't the way we wanted to close the season," freshman guard Jade Owens said. "But we have another chance next week in the Big East Tournament and that is our only focus now."
Creighton plays the No. 4 seed, the St. John’s Red Storm, on March 8 at 2:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals of the 2015 Big East Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.