Resilient Pirates fall short in epic match in Omaha
The Seton Hall women’s basketball team lost in overtime on Sunday afternoon against the Creighton Bluejays, 81-64, at D.J. Sokol Arena in Omaha, Neb. Down by as many as 20 points, Seton Hall rallied from behind to not only make it a game but give themselves a chance to win in the dramatic final moments. A last-second jumper by Inja Butina did not find the bottom of the net, however, and Creighton pulled away in the extra period.
The defeat drops the Pirates to 13-9 and 5-6 in Big East play, as the Bluejays improve to 13-8 and 7-4 in conference play. The Hall also fall to 0-2 against Creighton on the season, having dropped the reverse fixture earlier in the season.
Seton Hall are now even with three teams, Butler, St. John’s and Georgetown, at 5-6, but hold the tie-breaker and as a result fifth place in the Big East. If the season were to finish today, the Hall would face Creighton for a third meeting in the Big East Tournament.
The first half in Omaha was a tale of two quarters. Creighton combined stifling defense with a strong shooting performance that included six made three-pointers to take a 24-4 lead after the first ten minutes of play.
However, instead of folding, the Pirates responded brilliantly to get back in the game. The visitors – led by 13 first-half points from JaQuan Jackson – flipped the script by going on a 17-0 run in the second quarter and cut the deficit to just 35-34 by halftime. Jackson finished the game with 21 points, shooting 5-for-9 from behind the arc.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair that bore little resemblance to the opening twenty minutes. Both sides played tough defense and made big shots down the stretch, but with two minutes left in regulation, Creighton had opened up to a six-point lead.
Unfazed, the Pirates closed the gap by forcing multiple turnovers and hitting crucial shots. Inja Butina, who had 16 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds, hit a difficult jumper with 1:29 left. Jackson later got to the line and made both of her free throws, and would force a vital jump-ball that sent the possession arrow the Pirates way.
Shadeen Samuels scored the game-tying lay-up with 19 seconds to play. Jackson then came up with an excellent steal on Creighton’s final possession, but Butina’s hurried jumper at the buzzer fell just short.
In overtime, the Bluejays took the game by storm. Olivia Elger scored five straight points in the extra frame for Creighton, and Sydney Lamberty drilled a three-pointer to put a dagger in the hopes of a third Pirate rally. Facing a third major uphill climb, the visitors could not find a third comeback, and Creighton took over as the game-clock wound down.
The loss snaps Seton Hall’s three-game winning streak in conference play, and the 81 points allowed are the most the Pirates have given up in a game since the last time they faced Creighton, back on Jan. 2. The Hall will look to bounce back when Xavier pays a visit to South Orange on Feb. 2.
Kyle Beck can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @notkylebeck.