Last weekend, the Creighton women's basketball team (6-6) traveled to Las Vegas for contests with Oregon State, Clemson and UNLV as part of the Duel in the Desert.
The Bluejays won their first and third games in the tournament, finishing 2-1 on the weekend.
Thursday, December 19 v. Oregon State (6-3) W 70-62: In the first of three games at the Cox Pavilion, Creighton used hot shooting and solid defense to defeat the Beavers of the PAC-12. Sarah Nelson (25) and Marissa Janning (22) combined for 47 of the team's 70 points. As a whole, CU shot 44.9 percent in the game, which included 48.1 percent in the first half. Jim Flanery's squad took a 35-21 lead to the break. The lead was protected thanks in part to free throw shooting to the tune of 17-of-24 after the break. In the game, the Jays finished 24-of-34 compared to OSU being just 5-of-9. Nelson was 8-of-11 from the field, 9-of-12 from the free throw line and added nine rebounds in the game.
Friday, December 20 – v. Clemson (7-4) L 56-52: Unlike the first game, shooting and getting to the line were much tougher against the Tigers out of the ACC. Creighton, who trailed by as many as 12 in the first half, narrowed the deficit to five at the break thanks in part to eight points from Brianna Rollerson, who finished with 10 points and eight rebounds. Clemson held the Bluejays to 32.3 percent shooting from the field and 2-of-14 from beyond the arc in the first half. The second half Nelson found her stroke, scoring all 11 points in the second half alongside Janning who had five of her nine in the final 20 minutes. CU never led, but the Jays did get to within three points late before missed shots disabled Creighton from taking advantage of some late Clemson miscues.
Saturday, December 21 – v. UNLV (3-9) W 66-56: The Jays wrapped up the tournament against the host Lady Rebels on Saturday, while looking to go 2-1 on the weekend. UNLV sprinted out of the gate, shooting 46 percent and leading at intermission. Nelson and McKenzie Fujan both were in double figures in the opening half to support the Jays' offense. CU rallied and took the lead with 13:09 remaining. From there, the Bluejays never looked back after a Fujan jumper made it 48-46. The biggest lead came after an Alexis Akin-Otiko free throw increased the gap to 15 points. Fujan finished with 17 points; Nelson added 15, and Janning chipped in 11 points to lead the offense.
Next up: On Saturday, BIG EAST Conference play begins at D.J. Sokol Arena, as the Villanova Wildcats (9-1) come to town for a 2:05 p.m. contest. The game can be heard on 1180 Zone2 with Brad Burwell and Rob Simms on the call.
Creighton opens BIG EAST play on Saturday when the conference-leading Wildcats head to town…