Creighton Clipped at Buzzer by St. John's in NCAA First Round
NORMAN, Okla. - The Creighton women’s basketball team suffered a heartbreaking loss in the final seconds to No. 14 St. John’s, 69-67, in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
The loss ended the Bluejays season at 20-13, while St. John’s moved to 23-9 and advanced to face the winner of the Oklahoma/Michigan game on Tuesday, March 20.
Trailing 65-61 with under two minutes remaining, senior DaNae Moore put the team on her shoulders.
Moore converted a layup with 1:01 remaining in the game to bring the Jays within a bucket. Seconds later during a stoppage of play, the Red Storm were cited with a flagrant foul, sending Moore to the charity stripe. With the season on the line, Moore showed her composure and hit both free throws to tie the game at 65-65.
After the Red Storm converted two free throws of their own with 19 seconds remaining, sophomore Carli Tritz drove the lane to force contact, getting to the foul line with 5.7 seconds remaining. Tritz nailed the first free throw with ease, then after a St. John’s timeout, she evened the game at 67-67.
Unfortunately, St. John’s Nadirah McKenith had just enough time to rush down court and hit an arcing five-foot shot to steal the game.
The first portion of the game followed a path very familiar as Creighton got off to a slow start. St. John’s hit eight of its first 13 shots to build a 19-9 lead with 12:12 remaining.
Coming out of the media timeout, Moore and junior Ally Jensen rallied their team together. The move was prophetic as Moore drained back-to-back jumpers to pull the Jays within six. Following a Red Storm bucket, Jensen drilled a three from the wing to make it 21-18 with 9:27 left.
After the two teams exchanged buckets, Creighton took its first lead of the game, 29-28, behind two free throws from Tritz and a running layup by sophomore Sarah Nelson.
Unfortunately St. John’s closed the half with six of the final nine points to take a 34-32 lead into the break.
Early in the second half, the Jays played their best basketball with their backs to the wall. Trailing 58-49 with 7:49 left, Creighton responded with a 9-2 run over the next three minutes.
Once again Moore and Jensen ignited the Jays. Moore starting things off with two free throws, then Jensen nabbed a steal resulting in an easy layup for Moore. Moments later, Jensen drained a three-pointer from the top of the key to make it 60-56. Finally, Tritz sank two free throws to make it a one-possession game, 60-58.
Jensen finished the game with a team-high 15 points, while Moore and Tritz tossed in 14 points.
McKenith finished with a game-high 21 points to lead the Red Storm, while Da’Shena Stevens added another 12.