The Creighton women’s basketball team moved into sole possession of second place in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 63-41 victory over visiting Southern Illinois on Thursday night at D.J. Sokol Arena. Creighton held the Salukis to 21.7 percent shooting from the floor, its best defensive effort in more than a dozen years.
Southern Illinois (4-18, 3-9 MVC) scored on an easy lay-up by Stephany Neptune to start the game and would score the first seven points of the night before Kellie Nelson’s putback at the 17:54 mark finally got CU on the board. The Bluejays (14-7, 9-3 MVC) would make just one of their first 10 shots from the floor, falling behind 9-3 after five minutes.
Creighton wouldn’t claim its first lead until Nelson scored inside to make it 13-11 at the 11:30 mark, part of a 13-0 run that spanned 5:34 and left CU ahead 18-11 when it ended.
Creighton led 28-17 at the half, holding the Salukis to 18.5 percent shooting (5-27) in the opening 20 minutes,including no field goals in the final 9:17 of the opening stanza. Teri Oliver was just 1-of-7 from the floor, but was perfect in four attempts from the line to lead SIU with six points in the opening half. CU was paced by 10 points and six rebounds from Sam Schuett at the break, and were ahead 12-0 in second-chance points by intermission.
Creighton’s lead reached 38-21 after six minutes when Kelsey Woodard banked in a three-pointer from long range to beat the shot clock. SIU would not get within 15 points the rest of the night.
Woodard became the 21st player in school history to reach 1,000 career points when she scored on three-pointer with 14:37 left in the first half. She is the first junior to reach that milestone since Angie Janis in 2004-05, as it came on the 180th three-point hoop of her career.
Schuett finished with a team-high 17 points to lead three Jays in double figures. Nelson had 16 points while Woodard notched 10 points. The Jays shot 36.2 percent from the field, including 31.8 from three-point territory (7-22), and hit 14-of-18 at the free-throw line (77.8 percent).
SIU was led by 15 points from Oliver. Neptune, who came into the game leading the MVC with 10.9 rebounds per game had her ninth double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Christine Presswood, who entered the game ranked third in the league in scoring at a 15.8 points per game clip, was limited to five points on 1-of-5 shooting.
The Salukis struggled with their accuracy from the field the entire night, shooting a paltry 13-of-60 (21.7 percent), and made just three of 15 shots from three-point range (20.0 percent). SIU did its best work from the free-throw line, making 12-of-13 shots (92.3 percent).
Creighton won the battle of the boards 48-40 and owned a decisive 18-8 advantage in second-chance points as well.
Story courtesy of Creighton athletics.