Creighton cruised to a 76-59 win over Wichita State in the semifinals of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball tournament at The Family Arena Saturday night.
The Bluejays shot better than 50 percent from the field for the third time this year against the Shockers, while advancing to their second straight MVC Tournament championship game. Sam Schuett led the team with 17 points, as the Bluejays captured their third straight 20-win season and move to 20-9.
Creighton scored the first eight points of the game and owned a double-digit lead at 15-5, 6:23 into the game. The Jays would never relinquish their double-figure lead in advancing to their sixth MVC Tournament title game and third in the last four years. The Jays jumped up 19-5 and led by as many as 18 in the first half, before heading to the break up 44-30.
The Bluejays shot 61.5 percent from the field in the first half, making 16-of-26 shots from the field. The Jays committed just three turnovers in the opening half and out-scored WSU 22-10 in the paint in the first 20 minutes.
Wichita State (17-14) scored the first four points after halftime to get within 10, but would get no closer in the contest. The Jays answered with an 11-3 run to pull away and put the game out of reach. The Jays led by as many as 22 in the game, 76-54 with just over a minute to play.
Nine of the 10 Bluejays scored in the game, led by Schuett’s 17. The junior, who did not play in last year’s tourney because of her redshirt season, hit 6-of-8 shots from the floor and 3-of-5 from long range. Schuett added seven rebounds and a game-high four assists.
Kellie Nelson chipped in 14 points, 10 in the first half, and a team-best eight rebounds. Chevelle Herring scored all 11 of her points in the first half. Kelsey Woodard went 3-for-3 from three-point range for her nine points and Kelsey Crites contributed nine points and four boards off the bench.
Megan Neuvirth, playing in her school-record 127th career game, finished with seven points and four rebounds. She now has 912 career rebounds to rank 10th in MVC history and only 12 shy of Pam Gradoville’s school record (924).
Haleigh Lankster led all players with 23 points, making 9-of-12 shots for the Shockers.
Creighton out-rebounded WSU 39-28 in the game and out-scored the Shockers 34-22 in the paint. CU shot 53.1 percent (26-49) from the floor and 35.3 percent (6-17) from three-point range. CU was a lowly 18-of-32 (.563) at the free-throw line in the win.
The Bluejays will take on No. 5 seed Northern Iowa (16-15) in the championship game on Sunday at 2:35 p.m. UNI upset top-seeded Illinois State 61-59 in the first semifinal game on Saturday.