Omaha, Neb. — A furious final four minutes saw the Creighton women’s basketball team overcome an nine point deficit with a 12-0 run to secure a 57-54 win over Northern Iowa on Sunday, Dec. 8th.
With the win Creighton moved to 7-2 on the season, while Northern Iowa fell to 5-3.
Trailing 54-45 with 3:07, Northern Iowa missed a chance to make it a double-digit game as Megan Maahs’ second free throw went off the rim. Senior Jaylyn Agnew grabbed the rebound and the Bluejays wasted little time finding sophomore Rachael Saunders in the corner for a three-ball to make it 54-48 (3:01). Switching to a pressure defense, Creighton forced a turnover, then junior Temi Carda connected on a mid-range jumper to bring the Bluejays within four at 54-50 (2:33). The Panthers next possession resulted in a missed trey, then Carda connected on a pair of free throws to make it 54-52 (1:45).
Northern Iowa committed its 15th turnover of the game, but Creighton missed its first chance to tie the game. Following a Panther timeout, Northern Iowa suffered its 16th turnover. This time the Bluejays capitalized as junior Tatum Rembao stole the ball, then raced to the basket to knot the contest at 54-54 with 48 seconds left on the clock. The Panthers used a timeout, advancing the ball to their offensive end. Going for the win, Northern Iowa missed a three-pointer from the corner as Saunders grabbed the defensive rebound. With nine seconds left in regulation, the Bluejays missed a trey of their own. Saunders, however, was there for the offensive rebound. On the play Saunders was fouled, sending the Iowa native to the line. She knocked down one of two, to give Creighton its first lead since early in the third quarter (37-36).
The Panthers used their final timeout, advancing the ball once more. Northern Iowa, however, was denied by the Bluejay defense once more. This time Agnew grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Creighton’s senior leader sealed the win by draining a pair from the charity stripe. Northern Iowa went scoreless for the final 3:07, going 0-for-4 with three turnovers.
Both teams got off to a slow start as the familiarity of the coaching staff made buckets difficult to come by. The Bluejays held a 6-5 edge at the first media timeout (3:50) despite shooting 3-of-11 (27.3%). Northern Iowa, meanwhile, committed five turnovers in the first six minutes. The Panthers briefly claimed a 9-6 lead (3:15), but four free throws from junior Temi Carda put Creighton back in front. By the end of the opening ten minutes Creighton held a 14-11 advantage, thanks to eight points in the period from Carda.
Creighton extended its lead to eight (23-15) as sophomore Rachael Saunders knocked down a three from the left wing with 5:30 left in the second. Northern Iowa’s top scorer answered on the next possession with a trey herself. The Panthers closed to within a bucket with just 44 seconds left in the half, but another hustle play from Saunders sent the Bluejays to the locker room with a 32-28 advantage. On the play, Saunders raced in for the offensive rebound of a shot from Carda, then delivered a layup as the shot clock expired.
Holding 37-32 edge (8:44) early in the third, Creighton went 0-for-13 the rest of the quarter as Northern Iowa rolled off 12 of the next 14 points to hold a 46-39 lead as the game moved to the fourth.
Northern Iowa extended its advantage to as muh as nine, three different times, including at 54-45 with 3:07 remaining, setting up the Bluejays fantastic finish.
Agnew led Creighton with 16 points, while Carda and Saunders each finished with 14 points. Getting her first career start, Saunders posted her first career double-double with 11 rebounds.
Northern Iowa got a team-high 16 points from Kam Finley in the loss.
Creighton returns to the hardwood on Saturday, Dec. 14th as the Bluejays host Wichita State at 1:00 pm.