Creighton’s Sarah Nelson knew she had to find Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper in transition and beat her to a spot on the block in the halfcourt. But she figured Hooper would still find a way to get some points.
“You kind of pray that she misses the shots that she does get,” Nelson said.
Hooper, averaging a team-high 17.9 points per game, missed all seven of her field goal attempts Wednesday night and went scoreless in a 66-57 Creighton win.
The Bluejays double- and triple-teamed Hooper whenever she touched the ball in the post, often stationing 6-foot-3 junior Alyssa Kamphaus in the center of the lane. That helped take away some of point guard Lindsey Moore’s drive opportunities. It also kept Hooper from having success inside.
CU coach Jim Flanery said the credit should go to Nelson, though. Hooper had never been held scoreless in her college career.
Nelson “probably moves her feet as well as anyone from the guard position,” Flanery said. “She’s got the length of a post player and the motor of a point guard.”
Nelson, who played 39 minutes, also finished with four points, eight rebounds and six assists.
CU win ranks right up there
Creighton hadn’t won a game against a ranked nonconference team since 1999, but it came close once earlier this season.
The Bluejays lost 58-48 to then-No. 22 Kansas at D.J. Sokol Arena on Nov. 25. They also fell to then-No. 12 Oklahoma 69-48 in the season opener.
But against No. 25 Nebraska Wednesday, the CU players were ready for the challenge. Junior Carli Tritz said the scouting report and the team’s focus in practice helped the Jays control the game against the Huskers, who hadn’t lost to CU since 2004.
“The ranking, it means something, but you can’t let it mean too much,” Tritz said. “For us to come in with the right mindset... After awhile, it’s there, but you’ve got to block it out.”
The Jays had lost 17 of their last 18 games against ranked opponents before Wednesday. They beat No. 24 Illinois State in 2008.
Huskers’ Sample seizes opportunity
Husker sophomore forward Hailie Sample has had some open looks before, but never as many as she did against Creighton Wednesday.
The Jays sagged off Sample and concentrated their defensive strategy on Hooper. So Sample poured in a career-high 20 points, making nine of her 14 shots. Her previous high was 10 points.
“A lot of teams do that because I’m not one of our biggest scorers,” Sample said. “It wasn’t really a huge surprise.”
Bits and pieces
Nebraska coach Connie Yori said sophomore Brandi Jeffery was attending a funeral so she missed Wednesday’s game. … Creighton freshman Marissa Janning has scored 19 points in two straight games after totaling just 14 in her first four contests at CU … Creighton shot 56.3 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from 3-point range Wednesday, both season highs.