OMAHA — You could have looked at the Nebraska women’s basketball matchup against Creighton and thought the Huskers had a nice size advantage, and strength inside with players like Kate Cain and Isabelle Bourne.
You would have been correct. Creighton only has one player 6-foot-2 or taller.
Creighton had to come up with a different idea about how the game could go, and that certainly worked for the Bluejays in their 78-62 win on Monday at Sokol Arena.
Creighton looked at the matchup like maybe Nebraska couldn’t hang with the Bluejays’ speed and shooting.
“Yeah, we have to match up with them, but they also have to match up with us, and today it just worked in our advantage,” said senior guard Tatum Rembao, who scored 18 points for Creighton.
Senior guard Temi Carda also had 18.
The Bluejays’ impressive three-point shooting continued, with Creighton making 13 from eight players.
Amy Williams hasn’t beat Creighton during her five seasons as Nebraska head coach. In beating Nebraska five straight games Creighton has made 13, 14, five, 11 and 11 three-pointers.
Creighton used a 9-0 run to start the game and an 11-0 run in the second quarter, to blitz the Huskers for a 21-point halftime lead.
“I felt like to start the game our energy level was OK, but I thought once Creighton threw a punch our way and hit a couple of back-to-back threes, I felt like we looked a little bit stunned,” Williams said. “For a second we kind of froze, and then our energy level wasn’t as high as it needed to be.”
The Jays made 10 three-pointers in the first half. Nebraska knew the Jays would shoot threes, but couldn’t defend them as well as they needed to.
“We just didn’t do our job of really locating in transition,” Williams said. “We’re still trying to get comfortable with each other with how to do that.”
Nebraska's effort to get the ball inside to start the game was hurt by eight turnovers in the first half. Creighton had just one.
Nebraska outscored the Jays 41-36 in the second half, but the deficit was too big.
Creighton used its quickness to get rebounds over Nebraska’s taller players. The Jays also played tough in-your-face defense, and on offense moved the ball around quickly to get some open shots.
Creighton outrebounded Nebraska 40-36, and the Jays scored 16 points off offensive rebounds.
“Obviously, in the first half we did a lot of good things,” Creighton coach Jim Flanery said. “We got the game going up and down, and we played at a good pace offensively and did a good job of speeding them up. I thought that kind of negated their size.”
Sam Haiby led Nebraska (3-1) with 18 points. Cain added 15 points.
Nebraska only had eight available players to start the game due to injuries to Trinity Brady, MiCole Cayton and Nailah Dillard. That number dropped to seven players when freshman guard Ruby Porter went down with an ankle injury with five minutes left in the second quarter. In the second half, Nebraska had as many players on the bench with crutches (two) as it did substitutes.
Creighton has four players from Nebraska. Crete graduate Morgan Maly scored three points for the Bluejays on a three-pointer.
The Jays next play on Thursday at women’s basketball power UConn, which is back in the Big East this season.
“(UConn is) very good, but they’re younger,” Flanery said. “The time we played them six or seven years ago they actually had a kid who came off the bench who was the runner-up for the WNBA rookie of the year that following year. I remember watching that team before we played them and said, ‘I don’t think we can match up at any position.’ I didn’t tell our team that. But I think this (UConn) team is a little more human, because they’re younger. And maybe we’ve caught up a little bit, too, hopefully.”