The Creighton women’s basketball team used balanced scoring and strong defensive performances for a pair of Big East victories at home to extend its win-streak to three games.
The Bluejays defeated Xavier 74-47 on Friday before picking up a 77-49 win against Butler on Sunday at D.J. Sokol Arena.
“I don’t remember a home weekend where we’ve been able to put together those types of performances back-to-back,” coach Jim Flanery said.
Creighton (9-9, 3-3 Big East) never trailed and allowed only four first-quarter points during its 27-point victory against the Musketeers.
Freshman forward Audrey Faber scored 17 points and junior guard MC McGrory added 16 as all 12 players that saw time on the court scored at least two points for the Bluejays.
Xavier (13-3, 4-1) did not have any players reach double-figure scoring, made only one three-point field goal and shot only 29 percent from the field.
Creighton also held a 40-28 rebounding advantage, its largest margin this season.
The Bluejays duplicated their balanced scoring and solid defense on Sunday as Faber, McGrory and sophomore forward Bailey Norby each scored in double-figures and seven different players in a Creighton uniform scored at least six points against Butler.
After holding the Musketeers to 16 made field goals in 55 attempts, the Jays held the Bulldogs to 19 makes in 53 tries on Sunday.
Creighton entered the weekend allowing opponents to shoot 46 percent over the first four conference games, but held Butler and Xavier to a combined 32 percent.
“Our communication has been a lot better,” Norby said. “Coach has been holding us more accountable for that and when we talk earlier it’s easier for us to switch and get more rebounds and just hold each other accountable and help each other so we know when [opponents] screen where someone has to be exactly.”
Butler (7-9, 2-3) jumped out to a 6-2 lead but Norby scored six points in the first five minutes to give Creighton its first lead at 8-6.
Following a 13-13 tie, the Bluejays used a 16-2 run to take a 14-point lead with six minutes to play in the first half.
McGrory scored 10 while Faber and Norby each had eight points after the first two quarters and the Jays led 36-25.
Creighton’s depth controlled the second half.
The Bluejays’ bench outscored Butler’s bench 25-2 and the Bulldogs totaled only 24 total points over the final two quarters.
Faber converted a three-point field goal to give Creighton a 49-27 lead during the third quarter as the Jays led by at least 20 points over the final 15 minutes.
Brittany Ward led Butler with 16 points. Creighton held the Bulldogs’ leading scorer Blair Langlois to only one field-goal attempt and zero points.
Prior to the Bluejays two victories at home, Creighton picked up its first Big East win of the season with a 65-62 at Villanova.
McGrory scored 22 points and Faber added 19.
With the absence of All-Big East performer Marissa Janning and leading-rebounder Brianna Rollerson, Faber and McGrory have emerged as the offensive leaders.
Faber averages 15.9 points per game and McGrory 12.1 per game.
The Bluejays were picked to finish fourth in the conference in the preseason coaches’ poll but stumbled out of the gates in Big East play with three losses. With its current 3-3 record Creighton sits at sixth in the conference standings.
“We anticipated starting off the Big East a little better,” Norby said, “and once we had those first games we kind of took it to heart and collaborated and decided what we needed to fix to get to where our goal is.”
McGrory, one of the Bluejays’ captains, knows the importance of not getting caught up in its recent success.
“We had high expectations for ourselves,” McGrory said, “so it always feels good to maybe start to live up to some of those expectations, but we also know that we’re not even halfway through conference (play).
“We still have a lot of room to grow and a lot to work towards.”
The Bluejays return to action on Sunday against Providence at D.J. Sokol Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.