No. 21 Creighton women’s basketball won its sixth straight game on Sunday, beating Seton Hall 57-49.
The Bluejays led for all of the final three quarters, receiving all but seven of their points from the trio of Emma Ronsiek, Morgan Maly and Lauren Jensen. Seton Hall’s Azana Baines scored 19 points in the contest, but the rest of the Pirates struggled to get going.
Here are three takeaways from the game.
Defense Helps Bluejays Hang On
Creighton found itself in a bit of danger throughout the second half, seeing its lead cut to two in the third quarter and only holding a single-digit lead throughout the entire fourth.
Its offensive struggles were ones typically conducive to a blown double-digit advantage. After a Lauren Jensen layup early in the fourth, the Bluejays didn’t make a field goal for the rest of the period and scored three points over the next eight and a half minutes.
Regardless, they never lost their lead, or even allowed Seton Hall within a single possession. Until making a layup with 21 seconds left in the game and with the result essentially decided, the Pirates did not make a shot in 14 attempts, had just two points on free throws and turned it over four times.
“You don’t love everything about it,” Coach Jim Flanery said post-game. “But you love it that we had to grind it out and we won the game really on the defensive end.”
Mallory Brake had three of the team’s five blocks in the quarter, and Creighton did well in defending Seton Hall’s drives to the rim. Some of the opponent’s offensive struggles were self-inflicted — the Pirates missed two free throws and an easy fast-break layup — but a lot of credit should go to the Bluejays.
Creighton remains without Kiani Lockett due to a leg injury, and Kennedy Townsend also missed the Seton Hall game.
The latter wasn’t feeling well this morning, attempting to warm up but ending up not healthy enough to see the floor.
As a result, the Bluejays were left with eight available players, two of them who typically don’t play extended minutes. Guards Lauren Jensen and Molly Mogensen played all 40 minutes, while Morgan Maly and Emma Ronsiek combined to see the bench for seven minutes.
Flanery suggested that the offensive struggles may have in part been a result of that — Jensen made one of her last eight shot attempts and Mogensen turned it over three times in the final quarter.
The coach acknowledged that the team will need to get healthy, but also just receive more contributions from the rest of the lineup. Ronsiek, Maly and Jensen combined to take 47 of the team’s 53 shots from the floor and make eight of Creighton’s nine free throws.
Marquette Up Next
Creighton’s winning streak will meet perhaps its biggest test on Wednesday as Marquette (first among others receiving votes in the AP Poll) comes to town.
The Golden Eagles sit at 5-4 in conference play, but two of those losses are to UConn and the other two are to other top-four teams in the conference standings. They handed Creighton one of its two league losses back in early December, and a win for the Bluejays this time around would put them in position to end as a top-two team in the conference.
“I think it’ll be a fun game to have at our place now,” Brake said postgame. “We’re definitely — I mean, we take one game at a time — but this game on the calendar is something that we are looking forward to.”