Creighton women’s basketball ends season with loss to UCLA in second round of NCAA tournament

Creighton women’s basketball ends season with loss to UCLA in second round of NCAA tournament
Creighton's Audrey Faber shoots as UCLA's Lajahna Drummer, left, and guard Kelli Hayes defend in the first half Monday. (The Associated Press)

LOS ANGELES — On the UCLA campus near Pauley Pavilion, there is a facility called Drake Stadium best known for hosting track events.

Monday’s NCAA women’s basketball tournament game between Creighton and UCLA might have seemed like a track meet, as the Bruins applied full-court pressure and defeated the Bluejays, 86-64 in the second round.

Creighton, which defeated Iowa 76-70 in Saturday’s opening round, finished with a 19-13 record.

No. 9 UCLA (26-7) will play Texas in a Kansas City regional semifinal Friday.

Creighton might have held some reason for hope. In November, Creighton played UCLA tough despite losing by 72-63. Things were different on Monday.

“The last time they (UCLA) were disruptive, but tonight they were disruptive for longer stretches,” said Creighton coach Jim Flanery, who pointed out that the Bluejays made the second round in consecutive seasons for the first time in his 16 years as coach.

Jordin Canada scored 21 points and had eight assists for UCLA, hitting 6 of 7 from the field and 9 of 10 from the foul line.

Junior forward Audrey Faber, who led Creighton with 20 points, hit a 3-pointer to open the scoring. UCLA followed with 13 straight points to take a 13-3 lead with 5:33 remaining in the first quarter. Canada had three assists during that streak, and Creighton had trouble with UCLA’s full-court press.

The Bluejays were unable to get anything going once they crossed midcourt, and they weren’t able to get easy baskets if they beat the press.

“They pressed against us more than they did against American,” Flanery said. UCLA defeated American 71-60 in Saturday’s first round.

Creighton had 18 turnovers, with 10 coming in the first half. The Bruins capitalized by scoring 29 points off Creighton’s miscues and had 16 points from offensive rebounds.

Creighton managed to stay within 10 points of UCLA, but the Bruins closed the second quarter with a 12-5 run to take a 49-32 halftime lead. UCLA turned the game into a blowout when it had a 15-5 run to start the third quarter.

UCLA coach Cori Close said she was pleased with her team and that she had a lot of respect for Creighton.

“We were focused for 40 minutes against a really good team,” Close said. “I give them a lot of credit. They really competed.”

Flanery shared Close’s opinion of his team.

“We lost some good players from last year’s team and we still managed to make the second round,” Flanery said.

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