A second-half surge steals a win from Creighton
Lincoln. — Jordan Hooper and Lindsey Moore combined for Nebraska's final 15 points to power the Husker women's basketball team to a 66-55 victory over in-state rival Creighton on Thursday at the Devaney Center.
Hooper, a 6-2 forward from Alliance, Neb., scored Nebraska's final eight points of the game to seal their seventh consecutive victory in the series over the Bluejays and improve to 8-1 on the year. Hooper scored 17 of her game-high 22 points in the second half.
Moore, a 5-9 junior point guard from Covington, Wash., scored the previous seven points for the Huskers, while also forcing two turnovers to push Nebraska's lead back to double digits after CU had cut the lead to three possessions with five minutes left. Moore finished with 12 points, four assists and four steals.
Creighton, which slipped to 4-4 with the loss, was tied with the Huskers at 30 after Carli Tritz notched back-to-back baskets with 17:21 left. It was the fourth and final time in the game the score was tied. Tritz finished with a team-high 17 points, but after hitting the game-tying shot went more than 13 minutes in the second half without scoring.
With the game tied at 30, Husker freshman Emily Cady and senior guard Kaitlyn Burke teamed for six straight points to push NU's edge back to six points at 36-30 with 16:06 left and force a Creighton timeout. It marked the eighth time in the game the lead had changed hands.
Cady, a 6-2 forward from Seward, Neb., finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal. Burke, a 5-7 guard from North Vancouver, British Columbia, added a season-high 10 points to go along with five rebounds to give the Huskers four players in double figures.
After Sarah Nelson, who scored all seven of her points in the second half, ended the run by the Huskers, freshman guard Brandi Jeffery buried a three-pointer to give NU its biggest lead of the game at the time at 39-32 with 15:28 left.
Nelson and the Jays trimmed the lead back to 41-39 with 12:30 left and CU had the ball, before Burke made a tremendous steal near halfcourt and finished with a layup to push lead to 43-39. Seconds later, Hooper came up with another steal near halfcourt and raced for a layup to extend the NU margin back to six points and force another CU timeout with 11:44 left.
Creighton could get no closer than five points the rest of the way, after a Nelson free throw trimmed the margin to 48-43 with 8:19 left. Cady then converted a tradition three-point play to set up the decisive final 15 points by Moore and Hooper.
"That was a typical Nebraska-Creighton game," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "Points were pretty tough to come by in the first half, and finally Lindsey and Jordan kind of got going in the second half."
For the game, Nebraska hit 40.7 percent (24-59) of its shots from the field, but just 4-of-16 three-pointers. The Huskers also hit 14-of-18 free throws. NU outrebounded CU, 42-34, and won the turnover battle, 21-20. Nebraska also turned Creighton's 21 turnovers into 28 points, while CU managed just six points off the Husker miscues.
Creighton hit just 36.8 percent (21-57) from the field, including 6-of-16 of threes. CU was just 7-of-9 from the free throw line for the game, and just 1-of-2 in the second half. Taylor Johnson and Ally Jensen each added eight points for the Jays.
In a defense-dominated first half, Nebraska worked its way to a 26-22 halftime lead. Cady led the Huskers with six points, three rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in the first half.
Hooper added five points and three boards in just 10 first-half minutes after being whistled for her second foul with 9:23 left in the half. Moore also pitched in five points, two rebounds, two assists and a steal. Burke contributed four first-half points and three more boards.
Tritz led all scorers in the first half with 11 points, while Johnson added five points and Alexis Akin-Otiko pitched in four points.
Nebraska outrebounded Creighton 22-17 in the first half, but CU won the first-half turnover battle, 14-11. The two teams combined to go 16-of-53 from the field and just 4-for-18 from three-point range. Both teams were 6-of-7 from the free throw line.
Nebraska took its biggest lead of the first half at 26-20 on a Hailie Sample layup with 45 seconds left, while the Jays held their biggest lead at 11-8 with 11 minutes left in the half.
The Huskers are back in action Saturday afternoon when they travel to Flagstaff, Ariz., to take on Northern Arizona. Tip-off between Nebraska and the Lumberjacks is set for 2:35 p.m. (central) with live television coverage provided by Fox Sports Arizona Plus/Fox College Sports on Time Warner Cable channel 321 in Lincoln.
The game will also be available on DirecTV channel 695. Free live video streams are also available at nau.edu/nau-tv and bigsky.org. Free live audio from the Husker Sports Network will be available on Huskers.com.
Source: University of Nebraska Athletic Dept.