Creighton looked every bit the preseason favorite to win the Missouri Valley Conference Monday evening in a 73-53 victory over the Missouri State Lady Bears at JQH Arena in Springfield.
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS
Creighton (13-4, 5-1 MVC), the league leader in both 3-pointers per game (9.1) and percentage (.379), shot 13-for-32 from beyond the arc and 45.6 percent overall for the game. Meanwhile, Missouri State’s (9-8, 1-4) MVC-leading averages of 45 rebounds, 17 offensive boards and 25 free throw attempts failed to translate as the team finished with 10 offensive boards and 7-for-15 from the foul line while trailing 38-33 in total rebounds.
The Bluejays hit three long balls in the game’s first five minutes and began the contest 7-for-10 from the floor for a 17-8 lead with 13:45 left in the first half. Missouri State countered that with a 7-0 run to cut CU’s lead to 17-15 before the Bluejays ripped off a 14-0 run that included four 3-pointers in less than two minutes to go ahead 31-15 with 8:51 on the clock.
The Lady Bears held Creighton without a point for nearly seven minutes after that as the Jays suffered through an 0-for-13 field goal drought, but Missouri State was only able to shave eight points off the lead before CU scored for a 33-23 tally and 1:51 left in the period. The Bluejays then banked in a trey at the halftime buzzer for a 36-25 lead at the break.
Creighton knocked down another 3-pointer 19 seconds into the second half and the Lady Bears cut the lead to 12 points on two occasions before the Bluejays used an 8-0 run to build their largest lead yet at 49-29 with 14:30 remaining in the game.
Missouri State had the deficit to 15 points three minutes later before a 9-0 CU run made it 60-36 with 7:02 to play, and the Jays kept the lead at 20 or better the rest of the game.
MSU, which has averaged nearly 80 points per home game the last two seasons, was held to its lowest point total at JQH Arena since a 53-point output in December 2008.
Mikala McGhee, Hannah Wilkerson and Kenzie Williams shared high scoring honors with eight apiece. McKenzie Fujan scored 15 for Creighton and Sarah Nelson notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
Missouri State shot 21-for-56 overall but did commit a season-low 11 turnovers.
The Lady Bears hit the road yet again later this week for an 11 a.m. Friday game at Evansville. The Purple Aces, picked to finish last in the MVC this year, are off to a surprising 4-1 league start with a 6-10 overall record.