Marissa Janning, McKenzie Fujan and Sarah Nelson combined for 51 of Creighton's 65 points and four clutch free throws from freshman Lauren Works down the stretch helped the Bluejays to a 65-58 win over Villanova in their Big East debut Saturday afternoon at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Janning scored seven of Creighton's points during a 9-0 run that gave the Bluejays a 12-4 lead with 15:06 left in the first half, only to have the Wildcats answer with consecutive three-pointers to draw to within two and force a Bluejay timeout.
The Wildcats played from behind until taking a 21-20 lead on a steal-and-score by Katherine Coyer with 4:40 to play in the first half. Villanova extended its margin to its largest gap as the opening 20 minutes came to a close, 29-26.
The Jays came out with a burst to start the second half as junior Sammy Jensen drained a three-pointer to tie it before Janning blew through the lane for a layup and return the lead to Creighton for good at 31-29.
CU's edge grew to 34-29 on Nelson's three-pointer with 16:22 left and 'Nova coach Harry Perretta quickly whistled for a timeout. Two minutes later the lead stretched to eight on Janning's three-pointer coming out of the media timeout and capping an 11-0 run to start the second half.
The teams traded baskets much of the next seven minutes before consecutive baskets by Fujan made it 49-40 with less than eight minutes to play. A free throw by Caroline Coyer cut the Bluejay lead to eight, yet Janning answered with a trifecta. Moments later, Fujan drained a short jumper to push the margin to 54-41 with 6:22 left. Coyer answered with a trey, only to have Fujan sink a bucket for a 12-point lead with five minutes left.
Villanova didn't waste anytime clawing back, sinking three straight baskets to cut the deficit to 56-50 with four minutes remaining. Following a media timeout, the Wildcats got a defensive stop, then drew within four on a free-throw line jumper by Jordan Dillard. Nelson put an end to the Wildcats' 8-0 run with a jumper from the left wing, making it 58-52 with 2:35 left.
'Nova had two more steals and scores in the backcourt, drawing to within two points, but Creighton would hang on as Fujan banked in a deep three-pointer to beat the shot clock, making it 61-56. Creighton had two chances to put the game away, only to miss consecutive front end's. 'Nova got to within three points, but freshman Works nailed four foul shots in the final :22 to ice the victory.
Janning led all players with 19 points and seven rebounds, making 7-of-12 shots from the floor and 3-of-5 three-pointers. Fujan tied a season-best with 17 points and added three steals while Nelson had 15 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Creighton (7-6, 1-0 Big East) made 47.1 percent for the game from the floor, including 9-of-21 three-point attempts, to help offset an 8-for-15 showing at the line. Creighton out-rebounded Villanova 36-25, including 22-11 after intermission.
Villanova (9-2, 0-1 Big East) got 16 points off the bench from Coyer while her sister Caroline Coyer added 10 points and five assists. The Wildcats finished 45.5 percent from the floor and were held to a season-low four trifectas in 21 attempts.