Golden Eagles Close Strong, Top Bluejays

(Mark Kuhlmann)

CU couldn't overcome Marquette's strong end-of-game execution in the 73-71 loss.

In their final road contest of the season, the "Big 3" of McKenzie Fujan, Sarah Nelson and Marissa Janning combined to score 61 points, but it wasn't enough, as the Creighton Bluejays (18-11, 12-5 BIG EAST) fell 73-71 to the Marquette Golden Eagles (20-8, 11-6 BIG EAST) at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee.

Neither team ran away from the other on Saturday afternoon. There were 12 lead changes and 11 ties during the contest. Marquette led by as many as nine points in the game, and Creighton's biggest lead was five.

The first 20 minutes saw the Jays lead for a sizeable chunk of the half. CU's biggest lead of the opening period was four points at 17-13, following a Fujan jumper. Marquette then produced a 16-6 run, taking a 29-23 lead with 3:23 left in the half. The Eagles took a one-point lead of 33-32 to the half after two free throws from Ashley Santos.

Both teams shot relatively well. Creighton shot 38.2 percent in the half to Marquette's 40.6 percent. The Bluejays struggled from distance, however, hitting just 2-of-13 shots from distance. The Golden Eagles were 2-of-6.

After half, the home team started on an 11-3 run, pushing the lead to nine. Eight of the 11 points during the run came from Katherine Plouffe. CU responded and forced the fifth tie of the game with a 12-3 charge. Nelson hit her second three during this stretch; she had six of CU's 12 points during the run.

Over the final 12 minutes of the game, the game was tied six different times. The Jays built a five-point lead with back-to-back triples from Nelson before Janning hit a jumper.

Marquette forced the 11th and final deadlock of the game with 1:11 remaining after Brooklyn Pumroy made a layup. A back-and-forth finish was in store with Janning putting the Bluejays up two with 49 second left. Arleslia Morse countered with a three, putting the home team up one.

Two Janning free throws put Creighton up 71-70 with 23 seconds remaining on the clock. The Golden Eagles went back to Morse who hit another three, making the score 73-71 with just 12 seconds on the clock. On CU's final possession, Sammy Jensen got a look from three, but it sailed long.

Fujan lead the way with 21 points, while Nelson and Janning each added 20 points. Alexis Akin-Otiko and Brianna Rollerson had four apiece, while Lauren Works's two points rounded out the Jays' scoring.

Next up for the Bluejays will be senior night at D.J. Sokol Arena against the Butler Bulldogs with tipoff at 7:05 pm. The team will honor seniors Alyssa Kamphaus, Carli Tritz, Jordan Garrison, McKenzie Fujan, Sarah Nelson and Riley Norman. Fans unable to make it downtown can listen on 1180 Zone2/1620thezone.com with Brad Burwell and Rob Simms on the call.

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