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Creighton Women’s Basketball Stumbles in Third Quarter at UConn, Loses by 20

by Feb 19, 2024Creighton Womens Basketball

Creighton Bluejays forward Mallory Brake

Creighton women’s basketball’s winning streak came to an end on Monday, as No. 15 UConn ran away in the second half for a 73-53 victory.

The Bluejays looked to put up a better fight than they did in their first matchup against the Huskies, and they did do that. Still, the final score ended up a fairly lopsided one.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Huskies Run Away in Third Quarter

Out of halftime in a game tied at 31, Creighton got off to a good start in the third quarter.

Lauren Jensen, already with 11 points, appeared to get stuck late in the shot clock on the first possession of the half. She had already picked up her dribble inside the arc and couldn’t find a teammate to pass to. So, she turned, faded away, and nailed a tough jumper.

The Bluejays then rebounded a UConn miss and Morgan Maly banked in a three to put the visitors up five.

From there, the Huskies took over. Paige Bueckers nailed a turnaround jumper of her own and dropped in a floater to cut the deficit to one point. Then it was freshman Ashlynn Shade with back-to-back buckets to take the lead, and Aaliyah Edwards added four more points to cap a 12-0 run and force a Bluejay timeout.

All of a sudden, Creighton was back down seven, and it got worse. Turnovers and offensive rebounds made it a 17-0 UConn run out of the timeout, and when the Bluejays did get back to scoring, the Huskies drained three 3-pointers to keep on extending their advantage.

While Creighton’s defense did leave much to be desired in the third quarter, the offensive struggles were what truly allowed the contest to get away. It shot 25% from the field in the second half and went 6-for-30 from three on the game. The team scored five points in the final 8:58 of the third quarter. Those numbers won’t do against a team of UConn’s caliber.

Encouraging First Half

The Bluejays did do well in competing with the Huskies for just over a half of basketball.

Creighton stayed within a score of UConn for the entirety of the first quarter, even leading for stretches. The home team’s top scorers, who are typically very efficient, were held to a combined 2-for-9 shooting mark. Senior forward Aaliyah Edwards started 0-for-4 from the field, being blocked three times, turning the ball over twice and missing the only look she got off cleanly. Star guard Paige Bueckers made one of her first three attempts, being held scoreless for the final six-and-a-half minutes of the opening period.

The Huskies even made an early push to take control, leading for much of the second quarter and taking a 31-23 advantage on a Bueckers and-one. Creighton didn’t go away that easily, though, scoring the final eight points of the half to tie it.

Emma Ronsiek started that run with an and-one of her own. Then, UConn head coach Geno Auriemma was assessed a technical foul as Edwards got tied up with Morgan Maly and went to the ground without a whistle blown. Maly split those free throws, hit a tough jumper on the following possession, and tied the game on an offensive rebound and assist to Molly Mogensen.

It was an encouraging effort for Creighton, as was its run to open the second half. Things spiraled from there, but the team will still have plenty of good to build on as postseason play nears.

Bluejays Still on Track

Creighton may return home a bit disappointed with the results of Monday’s loss.

The Bluejays weren’t quite embarrassed this time around, but the score still wasn’t close. Despite both being ranked as top-25 teams nationally, the pair of games show that there is a somewhat significant gap between the squads. Creighton’s worst two games in terms of field goal percentage have come against UConn, and the Huskies are now responsible for two of three games in which the Bluejays have been held to 53 points or less.

That being said, this doesn’t change much in the big picture for Creighton. It would have raised its ceiling for tournament seeding with a win, but the Bluejays are still on track to land second in the Big East standings and a solid spot in the NCAA bracket. In the final three games of the regular season, they’ll look to beat three teams they’ve already taken down once.

That is the expectation for this bunch, which holds an outstanding 21-4 record. At Creighton’s current pace, it may get another shot at UConn in the Big East Championship, as well.

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