Following last week's 80-52 loss to Oklahoma in which Creighton shot 21.1 percent and made just 11 of 41 3-point attempts, coach Jim Flanery stressed that his team needed to shoot from long range less and pound inside more often.
But Saturday's matchup with Brigham Young and 6-foot-7 center Jennifer Hamson didn't give the Jays the best opportunity to put Flanery's game plan to good use.
Hamson scored 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting, pulled down 13 rebounds and swatted away five Bluejay shots as the Cougars defeated Creighton 52-51 in front of a D.J. Sokol Arena crowd of 642.
The Bluejays (4-4) made 16 of 53 (30.2 percent) from the floor and put up just 15 3-pointers, making four.
Flanery said Hamson, a two-sport star who is redshirting in volleyball this season to focus on basketball, created a presence that made it difficult for the Jays to execute offensively.
“We said after Oklahoma we’re too 3-point-oriented,” Flanery said. “We’ve got to throw the ball inside more.
“It’s tough when the next game you’re playing somebody 6-7. We don’t see that every day.”
Creighton fell behind by as many as 18 points with 16:44 left in the game before a furious rally that came up just short. The Bluejays outscored the Cougars (8-0), who entered the game averaging 73.9 points per game, 29-11 in the final 16:23.
Creighton had a chance to win after Sarah Nelson pulled down the rebound off a missed free throw with eight seconds remaining.
Marissa Janning, who led CU with 20 points and hit 13 of 14 free throws, drove the ball up the court and passed to McKenzie Fujan in the corner. Fujan got the shot off in time, but it was short.
“I’m encouraged by the way we played the last three quarters of the second half, and I thought our fight was really good,” Flanery said. “The disappointing thing was that we didn’t fight with that kind of urgency earlier. We were almost knocked out by the time we really fought.”
Alyssa Kamphaus had the duty of defending Hamson early, followed by Alexis Akin-Otiko late in the game.
“It definitely makes it difficult when you have to focus so much on one player,” Akin-Otiko said. “We did our best. There’s only so much you can do. If she’s hitting shots, it’s just kind of tough.”
The Bluejays struggled to get into a rhythm offensively for most of the first half as CU shot just 31 percent (9 of 29) from the field.
After grabbing an 8-3 lead on a jumper by Fujan 2:22 into the game, the Jays went 5:12 without scoring as BYU took an 11-8 lead.
Creighton trailed 19-17 after a jump-hook by Nelson with 7:39 remaining in the first half. But another long Bluejay drought, this time 5:40 without a field goal, helped the Cougars build a 28-19 lead on a Hamson jump shot with 4:48 left before halftime.
The Bluejays failed to score during the first 3:37 of the second half as BYU stretched its lead to 40-22.
Nelson scored 10 points and had nine rebounds for the Bluejays.
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Video: Creighton-BYU highlights:
Video: Creighton-BYU postgame press conference: