Emily Cady notched her fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Rachel Theriot added 16 points and nine assists to power No. 12 Nebraska to a 60-57 women’s basketball win at Creighton on Thursday night.
Nebraska improved to 8-1 on the season, while Creighton slipped to 4-5.
Cady, a 6-2 senior forward from Seward, Neb., added three blocked shots and a pair of assists while going 8-of-11 from the floor and 2-of-3 from three-point range. She had 12 points and seven rebounds in the first half alone.
Theriot, a 6-0 junior point guard from Middleburg Heights, Ohio, had 10 points and six of her season-high nine assists in the first half to help the Huskers run to a 33-17 halftime lead in front of 1,411 fans at D.J. Sokol Arena and a Fox Sports 1 national television audience.
While Theriot helped the Huskers get out to a strong start, she also hit a pair of key jumpers in the final five minutes to allow Nebraska to escape with a win over the hot-shooting Jays.
The Huskers held Creighton to just 23.3 percent (7-30) shooting in the first half, and controlled the glass, outrebounding the Jays 21-10 in the opening period.
But Creighton heated up behind Alexis Akin-Otiko in the second half. Akin-Otiko went 5-of-5 from three-point range after halftime to finish a career-best 6-for-6 for the game on her way to a game-high 23 points. She scored 11 of CU’s first 15 points in the opening seven minutes of the second half to cut the NU margin to 39-32 with 13:17 left.
Nebraska got answers from Cady, Theriot and sophomore center Allie Havers to not only slow the Bluejay run but to rebuild a 47-33 lead with 8:14 left.
Havers, who scored a season-high eight points on 4-of-5 shooting for the Huskers off the bench, kept NU’s lead in double-digits at 51-40 with 5:34 left.
Three-pointers by Marissa Janning and MC McGrory trimmed the Husker margin back to seven with just over four minutes, but NU kept scoring to keep the lead at nine after a jumper from Theriot with 3:07 left.
Then Akin-Atiko struck one last time scoring five straight points to cut Nebraska’s lead to 57-55 with 33 seconds left.
Creighton was forced to foul, sending Husker senior Hailie Sample to the line for a crucial one-and-one with 14 seconds left. Sample, a 58 percent free throw shooter entering the contest, calmly stepped up and drained both to push the margin back to four. CU answered with a layup, but Sample hit another free throw with nine seconds left to push the lead to 60-57. A last-second heave by CU was not close.
Sample was strapped with foul trouble for much of the night, but finished with seven points, four rebounds and two assists.
Creighton hit 16-of-29 shots in the second half, including 7-of-10 three-pointers. Nebraska found enough offense on 11-of-25 shooting in the second half to finish at 53.2 percent (25-47) for the game. The Huskers did not hit a second-half three and finished 3-of-7 for the game, while Creighton went 10-of-20 from long range. Nebraska sealed the win at the line, going 7-for-8 on the night, while CU went just 1-for-2.
Despite the scaulding second half from Creighton, Nebraska still held the Jays below 40 percent shooting for the game (23-59).
Nebraska dominated the glass from start to finish, outrebounding CU, 36-23, on the night. The Huskers got a huge night on the glass from 5-7 senior guard Brandi Jeffery, who yanked down a career-high 12 rebounds to go along with her five points, four assists and two steals.
The Huskers return to home action on Saturday when they face Bakersfield. Tip-off between the Huskers and 6-2 Roadrunners at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 2 p.m.