Creighton buried Iowa State under a barrage of 3-pointers, as the Bluejays continued their NCAA Women’s Tournament run with a 76-68 win over the Cyclones on Friday.
The Bluejays (23-9), the No. 10 seed in the Greensboro Region, will face No. 1 seed South Carolina in the Elite Eight on Sunday. South Carolina defeated North Carolina, 69-60, in the early game on Friday. This will be Creighton’s first trip to the Elite Eight.
The Cyclones (28-7), the No. 3 seed, failed to reach the Elite Eight for the third time in program history, and for the first time since 2009. Texas is the only remaining Big 12 team in the women’s tournament. The Longhorns play in the Elite Eight on Sunday.
Iowa State found itself at the mercy of Creighton’s incredible shooting in the second half. The Bluejays, known for their 3-point shooting, built an early lead on back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers, which set the tone for the second half. Creighton shot 63 percent in the third quarter, and five of their 12 field goals were from the arc.
Creighton had 11 3-point field goals for the game. Iowa State ended up with eight.
It seemed every time Iowa State found a way to force the Bluejays to miss a 3-pointer, Iowa State failed to make a basket at the other end. With 7:16 to play, Creighton had a 66-53 lead before Iowa State mounted a comeback behind guards Emily Ryan and Lexi Donarski, who each scored two baskets to trim the Bluejay lead to 68-64 with 2:10 left.
Ryan’s layup later made it a one-possession game with 39 seconds left, but Creighton then went to work at the free-throw line. Tatum Rembao made five free throws down the stretch to protect Creighton’s lead and send the Bluejays on in the tournament.
Ryan finished with 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Nyamer Diew had 15 points, Ashley Joens had 14 points and Donarski added 11 points.
Joens now has 2,369 points, most in Iowa State history. She now has to decide if she’s going to return for one more season or give up her COVID-19 eligibility season and head for the WNBA.
Morgam Maly led Creighton with 21 points, while Rembao had 19 points. Payton Brotzki had 13 points and Lauren Jensen had 10 points. Emma Ronsiek, who averages 14 points, had just two points on Friday.
Iowa State and Creighton were tied 30-30 at halftime. Neither team shot particularly well, but the two teams combined for 21 field goals, nine of which were 3-pointers. Iowa State’s largest lead was six points, and Creighton’s largest lead was two points.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.