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Takeaways From Creighton Women’s Basketball’s Exhibition Win

by Oct 30, 2023Creighton Womens Basketball

Takeaways From Creighton Women’s Basketball’s Exhibition Win

Creighton women’s basketball won its exhibition game Monday night, beating Division II Nebraska-Kearney 93-42.

The Bluejays started fast, going up 12-2 early before leading 26-7 at the conclusion of the opening quarter. From there, they cruised to an expected blowout win, with three players scoring in double figures.

Morgan Maly Shotmaking 

The highlight of the exhibition, and the first half in particular, was a stellar showing from Creighton senior Morgan Maly.

She scored the first five points of the game, then hit a second 3 to cap off the opening 12-2 run. The 2022-23 All-Big East first team selection followed that up by helping force a turnover and being rewarded for it on the other end with a layup. At halftime, Maly had 22 points, sinking all eight of her shots from the field and hitting a pair of free throws.

Creighton head coach Jim Flanery joked postgame that had it not been an exhibition, he might’ve let Maly go for the program’s single-game points record.

“That first half, she was feeling it,” he said.

Maly accomplished all that in just over 12 minutes, then only played nine more in the second half. She missed her first shot after the break, but still ended up with 28 points on 11-for-14 shooting to go along with eight rebounds.

“I knew Morgan Maly was really good,” Loper head coach Drew Johnson said postgame. “She’s really good … I was very impressed by just her poise, and we left her open too much on some things.”

New Faces Take the Court and Make an Impact

While Creighton has just one newcomer on the roster in freshman guard McKayla Miller, there were multiple newer faces on the floor.

Guard Brittany Harshaw redshirted her freshman year last season, while fellow guard Lexi Unruh did the same in 2021-22. The latter missed 2022-23 with an injury, meaning both are also looking to see their first action with the program in the upcoming regular season.

All three players made an impact in the exhibition. Highlighting the trio was Harshaw, who scored eight points to go along with three steals, two rebounds, a block and an assist. Unruh put up five points, a rebound and a steal. Miller was the lone Bluejay to play less than 10 minutes in the win, but the freshman still recorded four points and three rebounds in her time on the floor.

A couple of players from that group will likely be called on to contribute this season, if not all three. Flanery sees potential in his squad’s bench.

“This can be a deep team,” he said. “It’s going to take a while though for our young players to be a little more consistent.”

Firing on All Cylinders

For most of the night, Creighton looked like a team coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.

That’s expected against a Division II opponent, but the ball movement and defense from the Bluejays remained impressive throughout the game. There were lapses, such as giving Nebraska-Kearney eight free throws in the second quarter and committing some poor turnovers in the third. However, 29 assists, five blocks and 19 turnovers forced are numbers the team can be happy with.

Maly, coming off a busy summer of 3×3 basketball, nailed tough shots along with the open ones. Nebraska-Kearney scored single-digit points in three of four quarters and shot 26.8% overall. Creighton came up with seven of its 12 steals in the final period, a good portion of those coming on consecutive possessions to end the contest.

There is plenty to be excited about for the upcoming Creighton season, and the exhibition offered a glimpse at some of those things. The Bluejays will open the regular season next Monday in a neutral site game against North Dakota State before they play South Dakota at home on November 10.