Creighton’s 3-point accuracy was the story of the game on Sunday afternoon. The Bluejays recorded 14 3-pointers, outscoring the Huskers 42-9 from behind the arc. It’s challenging for an opponent to overcome those numbers.
“Firstly, credit to them on shooting that well,” sophomore guard Sam Haiby said postgame. “14 threes is going to be hard to come back from, no matter who they are.”
Within the first two minutes of the game, Creighton drained three 3-pointers. That consistency and accuracy made a statement and set the tone for the game, which ended in Nebraska’s first loss of the season with a final score of 79-74.
This was Creighton’s (4-1) fourth consecutive win against Nebraska (5-1), meaning no current Husker players have won against the Bluejays.
The first loss of the season coming at the hands of their in-state rivals makes it sting just a little bit more for the Huskers.
“You want to beat the team that’s in your state, and we definitely wanted this one for our seniors most. It really hurts us and them that they won’t get another shot at it,” Haiby said.
Junior center Kate Cain had the first four points for Nebraska in the game. Cain played well throughout, recording a team-high 18 points and three blocks, also sharing the team-high for rebounds with Haiby, with each player contributing seven.
With under six minutes to go in the first quarter, Haiby made an and-one assisted by senior guard Nicea Eliely. Haiby hit the free throw, tying the game up at 9-9.
Sophomore forward Ashtyn Veerbeek made a layup halfway through the quarter for Nebraska to take its first lead of the game.
The score continued to go back and forth with senior forward Jaylyn Agnew making her third 3-pointer of the game to pull the Bluejays ahead, followed by Eliely making a wide-open layup to regain the lead and put the score at 13-12.
The Huskers held onto a one-point lead at the end of the first quarter, 18-17.
One highlight of the first quarter was junior guard/forward Taylor Kissinger seeing the court for the first time this season, returning from an injury which ruled her out of the first five games. Kissinger was a standout 3-point shooter last season but didn’t record any points today.
If head coach Amy Williams was concerned about her performance, she didn’t show it.
“Taylor is a fantastic 3-point shooter,” Williams said. “Everybody in our program has the utmost confidence in her and she’s just now returning to play so it’ll take care of itself.”
At the start of the second quarter, both teams slowed down offensively, and the Huskers led 22-17 with 5:50 to go.
However, Creighton got it going with another 3-pointer to cut the deficit to two points.
Cain added four points, but Agnew responded with another 3-pointer to make the score 26-25.
Senior guard Hannah Whitish quickly put in two to make it a three-point game again. Freshman forward Isabelle Bourne put in a three, but Agnew answered, draining yet another 3-pointer. The two teams then went into halftime tied 32-32.To start the third quarter, Creighton junior guard Tatum Rembao hit a quick three to give the Bluejays the lead. Junior guard Temi Carda then shot and made a big three, drawing a foul on Whitish for the four-point play opportunity. Carda missed her free throw, but the Bluejays still held a 38-32 lead.
The game was tied up once again with under four minutes to go in the quarter at 44-44. The tie didn’t last long before Creighton senior guard Olivia Elger made two consecutive shots from behind the arc.
Within the last minute of the quarter, Veerbeek made an and-one so the Huskers were only trailing by one point. However, the Bluejays responded by hitting yet another 3-pointer to make the score 55-51 at the end of the third.
Elger opened up the fourth quarter with another 3-pointer and the Bluejays got up to a 10-point lead in the fourth.The Huskers began to catch up with a layup from Cain and free throws from Haiby but Nebraska trailed by five points with 6:08 left to play.
The Bluejays quickly answered by increasing their lead with a 3-pointer from Rembao. Brown and Whitish each added two points, and the Huskers trailed by six with 3:58 remaining on the clock.
Brown and Haiby both hit 3-pointers in the later part of the fourth quarter, but the Husker offense couldn’t seem to keep up with the Bluejays, and Creighton came away with the five-point win.
Aside from Cain’s numbers, Haiby and Brown also contributed valuable points, with 17 and 14, respectively.
The Bluejays had three impressive scorers, with Agnew scoring 26 points and Carda and Elger both contributing 18 points.
Although Creighton’s head coach, Jim Flanery, credited some of the impressive 3-point shooting to luck, he noted that “overall, I thought our grit and our fight and our understanding of how we could win was pretty good.”
Williams mentioned that the Huskers have already talked about how good teams respond to adversity.
“If we use this as a tool to bring us closer together and really find a way to correct some things, then I think it could be a valuable game and turning point for us,” Williams said.
Next up, the Huskers have the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas where they will face Southern California on Friday, Nov. 29 at 7:45 p.m. and Sacred Heart on Saturday, Nov. 30 at 5:30 p.m.