Creighton Stunned 2-Seed Iowa At Home To Advance To The Sweet 16

Sunday afternoon saw Creighton and Iowa take center stage in the women’s NCAA tournament, as the 10-seeded Blue Jays took on the 2-seeded Hawkeyes on Iowa’s home floor in front of a sold out crowd of 15,000 — as the women’s tournament plays first and second round games at the top-4 seeds’ home courts.

From the jump, the game was a thriller, as both teams came out firing on all cylinders offensively. For the Jays, it was all about the three-point shot early and often, with Payton Brotzki starting off on fire from deep, drilling three early threes to push Creighton to a quick lead.

On the other side, it was a two-woman show for Iowa, as star Caitlin Clark got busy from the perimeter as she so often does, showing off her ability to pull from just about anywhere off the dribble.

However, Creighton kept Clark’s opportunities to fire away from deep limited by sending help at her just about every time down the court, choosing instead to leave Monika Czinano single covered down low, and Iowa’s center ate early and often, finishing the game with 27 points on 12-of-20 shooting.

While Czinano piled up points inside and Clark started well, no one else on Iowa could buy a bucket and with the Jays hot from deep, they were able to open up a double-digit lead and, ultimately, take a 38-32 advantage into halftime.

In the second half, the three-ball started to go cold for Creighton and Iowa steadily clawed back into the game and, after a dreadful shooting start from the non-Clark and Czinano Hawkeyes, Gabbie Marshall picked the right time to find her stroke in the fourth quarter with a pair of big threes on back-to-back possessions to give Iowa the lead.

The Hawkeyes would go up four and it seemed, with a raucous crowd on their side, they would put the Jays’ upset bid to rest. Despite a cold-shooting half, Creighton was able to turn to Iowa transfer Lauren Jensen for some big buckets in the fourth quarter to keep them attached, and down two with under 20 seconds to play, it was Jensen who drilled what became the game-winner after some Iowa miscommunication left her open at the top of the floor.

A Caitlin Clark layup missed off the iron and, after Creighton split two free throws, Iowa found themselves down two with 3.6 seconds to play and got the ball to Czinano to try and force overtime. Her shot from the paint came up short, as did a pair of putback attempts, allowing Creighton to celebrate a stunning upset and their first Sweet 16 appearance in school history.

Jensen finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, toppling her old team in the process and getting assistance from Brotzki (13 points) and Emma Ronsiek (13 points, 10 rebounds). For Iowa, Czinano and Clark combined for 42 of their 62 points and as a team they shot just 35.7 percent from the field including a 5-of-22 afternoon from three-point range, which was just not the performance needed to beat a very game Blue Jays squad.