The Creighton Bluejays bested the undefeated #18 Wildcats, 69-54, in the opening Big East of the season.
The Bluejays swept the Wildcats in the series last season, and Creighton kept remained on top, starting off Big East play with a quality win.
Villanova went on a 9-0 run early in the first quarter, which culminated in an 18-12 lead for the Wildcats. The fairly fast-paced tempo continued into the second quarter, which presumably would have tipped the scales in Villanova’s favor.
Villanova head coach Harry Perretta loves dictating the tempo during games, and they seemed be doing well in that category in the first half. The Bluejays were led by sophomore Jaylyn Agnew and returning starter Audrey Faber and fought back into the game anytime it seemed like the Wildcats would pull away. Their hard-fought effort to stay in the game paid off, as Villanova only took a slight 33-32 lead at the half.
Junior Adrianna Hahn had all of her 10 points in the first half alone. She went a perfect 2-for-2 from beyond the arc, but picked up three fouls along the way.
The Bluejays outrebounded the ‘Cats by seven and shot 52 percent on the floor in the opening half, some early signs for concern.
Things became more problematic for the Wildcats in the second half, as foul trouble started mounting up. It wasn’t just Hahn, Alex Louin and Kelly Jekot were hindered by fouls.
Hahn picked up her fourth foul at a crucial time, when Creighton had started to pull ahead. A 1-for-6 start to the half allowed Creighton to take its first lead of the game, with a Sydney Lamberty basket to make it 34-33 early in the third quarter. Megan Quinn immediately followed with a three-pointer, and the back-and-forth game was on. However, Hahn’s fourth foul forced her to sit a majority of the quarter and Creighton took advantage, going on a 7-0 run, ultimately tipping the scales in favor of the Bluejays.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats struggled offensively, scoring only one basket in the final five minutes of the third quarter.
Creighton opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer from Agnew giving the ‘Jays a 52-43 lead. It wasn’t long until their lead grew into double figures and they could hardly look back from there.
The amount of empty possessions from the Wildcats was evident in the second half, and poor shooting performance on the floor led them to their lowest scoring output of the season.
For Creighton, Agnew and Faber finished with 19 points each. Lamberty added seven points, six rebounds, and seven assists to the winning effort.
Quinn and Jannah Tucker paced Villanova with 11 points each. Kelly Jekot was held to just six points and a 3-of-11 shooting performance.
Now, the ‘Cats will look for a quick rebound, traveling to Providence to take on the Friars on Saturday. Providence is also looking to bounce back after being dealt a blowout loss by Georgetown to open Big East play. Tip-off is schedule for 1 p.m.