The UC Davis defense stifled Creighton after halftime, holding the Bluejays to just 20 points combined and 17 percent shooting in the second half and overtime.
The last two were the most important.
With one second remaining in overtime, Creighton’s Kelsey Woodard’s scored the winning basket off of an Aggie turnover, giving the Blue Jays the 63-61 victory.
“You got to give Creighton a lot of credit,” said coach Sandy Simpson. “Woodard made a great read on that last drive to give them the win.”
The Aggies came out of the gates hot, putting up an early 11-point lead.
Creighton fought back to go up by 10 at halftime thanks to 50 percent shooting from behind the arc.
After playing a combination of man and zone defense the Aggies made the adjustment to playing only zone.
This adjustment paid off as the Bluejays could only manage 15 points in the second half of play.
“In the second half we contested things a lot better,” Simpson said. “You don’t often see a 43 point half followed by a 15 point half.”
Along with a strong second half defense, the UC Davis offense picked it up as it shot 50 percent from the floor.
Regulation play ended in a stalemate and the game went into overtime.
The Aggies got an early three-point lead in the extra period, but a Bluejay three-point bucket tied it up with a minute left.
UC Davis looked poised to score the winning basket with 17 seconds left, but a turnover led to Woodard’s game-winning layup.
“It was a great game to learn from,” Simpson said. “It’s a shame we put up such a great effort and weren’t rewarded with a win.”
While the Aggies scored most of their points in the paint, the Bluejays relied heavily on its three-point shooting, scoring 48 of their 63 points on three-point baskets.
“Creighton shot the ball incredibly well in the first half and did a tremendous job controlling the tempo and taking advantage of us defensively,” Simpson said.
Junior center Paige Mintun was one of three Aggies to score in double figures as she finished with 13 points. Senior forward Heidi Heintz dropped 11 and sophomore forward Vicky Deely had 10 as nine of the active 12 players on the roster scored points for the Aggies.
“We were able to work in a lot of players,” Simpson said. “We’re still trying to find our best lineup.”
The Aggies have seven or eight potential starters according to Simpson, and will use upcoming practices and games to determine the best lineup for conference play.
“We’re still trying to work in some new faces and see who works well with others,” Simpson said. “I am confident we’ll get to our potential by the time league rolls around.”
JASON ALPERT can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.