Despite a combined 61 points from seniors McKenzie Fujan, Sarah Nelson and sophomore Marissa Janning, the Creighton women’s basketball team suffered a 73-71 loss to Marquette on Saturday, March 1.
The loss dropped the Bluejays to 18-11 on the season and 12-5 in the BIG EAST Conference; while Marquette is now 20-8 overall and 11-6 in conference play.
Saturday’s contest was a back and forth affair that went down to the buzzer, featuring 11 ties and 12 lead changes. In the first half Creighton built a four-point lead at 17-13 (9:45), behind 10 points from Fujan. Marquette responded with a 10-2 run to take a 23-19 edge. Marquette went on to push its lead to six at 29-23 (3:23).
Nelson rallied her troops with a running layup from Janning. Creighton stopped the Golden Eagles, then Janning converted a traditional three-point play to make it 29-28 (1:51). The Bluejays took the lead on the next possession and freshman Lauren Works sank two free throws to make it 32-29 with 57 seconds left in the half. Marquette, however, delivered the final push with four straight points to take a 33-32 lead into halftime.
The Golden Eagles controlled the opening portion of half number two, pushing their lead to nine at 44-35 with 16:08 remaining in the game. Once more Nelson rose to the challenge, nailing a three-pointer from the top of the key. Nelson’s trey energized her teammates as junior Alexis Akin-Otiko knocked down a 12-footer, then Fujan dropped in a bucket from the elbow to make it 45-42 (14:10).
Marquette regrouped and held the Bluejays at bay until the closing moments. Trailing 59-57 with 4:34 left, Fujan knotted the game with a running layup off glass. Creighton forced a Marquette miss, then Janning knocked in a trifecta from the left corner.
Katherine Plouffe answered for Marquette, but Nelson matched the effort with a long three-ball from the top of the key to give Creighton a 65-62 edge with 2:42 left. After a defensive stop, Janning knocked in an eight-footer to give the Bluejays their largest lead of the game, 67-62 (2:00).
Marquette answered once more with a trey from Plouffe and a layup to tie the game at 67-67 with just over a minute remaining (1:11). A layup from Janning gave Creighton the lead back, 69-67, but Arlesia Morse knocked down a trey from the left corner. Down a point, Janning drove baseline and drew a foul with 23 seconds left. The Minnesota native put in both free throws to make it 71-70. Morse delivered the final blow with another three-pointer in the left corner to give the game to Marquette.
Fujan led Creighton with 21 points, while Nelson and Janning each finished with 20 points.
Plouffe led all scorers with 33 points for Marquette, while Morse finished with 14.