Agnew leads No. 11 Creighton to 76-70 win over No. 6 Iowa

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A week ago Creighton didn’t know if it would qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Now the Bluejays are onto the second round.

Jaylyn Agnew scored 24 points and Sydney Lamberty added 20 to lead the No. 11 seeded Bluejays to a 76-70 win over No. 6 seeded Iowa in a first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament on Saturday.

The Bluejays (19-12) will play UCLA on Monday.

“It’s a great feeling to win, Creighton coach Jim Flanery said. “Five days ago, we were sitting in our kitchen on campus and we didn’t know if we were going to make it.”

Agnew and Lamberty combined to make 16 of 26 shots. Lamberty also had six assists and five rebounds and Audrey Faber added 12 points for Creighton.

“It feels awesome and we’re excited and we’ll enjoy this today but we have to think ahead for Monday’s game,” Agnew added.

Megan Gustafson scored 29 points and had 17 rebounds for the Hawkeyes (24-8).

The Bluejays never trailed in the second half, but had to hold off a stubborn Iowa team. The Hawkeyes cut the lead to 59-55 with 6:35 to play but Lamberty scored four straight baskets for Creighton to foil Iowa’s comeback bid.

Lamberty’s layup with 1:37 to play gave Creighton a 68-61 lead. The Bluejays then made 8 of 10 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

“My teammates were setting me up for good shots after working through some tough screens,” Lamberty said. “Without their help, there’s no way I could have gotten there.”

Agnew made three 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the first half to give the Bluejays a 34-31 lead at the break.

Gustafson scored 16 points and had 11 rebounds for the Hawkeyes in the opening half. Iowa shot 52 percent in the first half and outrebounded Creighton 20-12 (and 39-28 for the game) but committed 9 turnovers and trailed by 3 at halftime.

“These two beside me (Agnew and Lamberty) were decent today,” Flanery joked at a post-game press conference. “They were terrific and I love the chemistry on this team. Sydney made some really tough plays and I loved how strong she worked the shot clock. That’s who we have to be to be successful.

“We worked the trap and downsized at the end of the game and it’s a credit to our players for playing hard and hitting their free throws.”

Agnew scored 11 points in the third quarter and the Hawkeyes shooting cooled off as Creighton maintained a slim 56-50 lead after three periods.

The Bluejays snapped a four-game losing streak to Iowa.

“They did a good job using the shot clock and spacing on the floor,” said Hawkeyes coach Lisa Bluder. “We never could get over the hump. We cut it four a few times and then had some turnovers and didn’t have the best shot selections. They milked the clock so well and they did a fabulous job pouring in their shots at the last second.”


Iowa: Gustafson is the only player in the country averaging 25 or more points and 12 or more rebounds per game and is one of two NCAA women basketball players to do so in the last 10 years. She was named Big Ten Player of the Year and has registered 28 double doubles this season and has recorded double doubles in 33 of her last 40 games.

Creighton: The Bluejays return to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time under head coach Jim Flanery and the seventh time in program history. Creighton is 5-6 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.


IOWA: Bluder has led the Hawkeyes to 13 NCAA Tournament appearances in her 18 years at the helm. Iowa has advanced to the postseason in 17 of her 18 seasons (13 NCAA, 4 WNIT). Blunder is one of 10 active Division I head coaches with 700 or more victories.

CREIGHTON, MAKING A MOVE: The Bluejays are making their seventh NCAA appearance fourth appearance under Flanery. In his 16th season as Creighton’s head coach, Flanery owns a 311-203 record. He has guided the Bluejays to 20 or more wins nine times.


Creighton: The Bluejays will face UCLA on Monday. The Bruins beat American to advance.

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