CANCUN, Mexico - A spirited second half comeback saw Miami tie the score late, but Creighton's three-point shooting proved to be the difference in a 66-57 victory over the RedHawks in their opening game at the Caribbean Classic on Friday. Miami falls to 6-5 on the season, while the Bluejays improve to 7-2.
Senior forward Kirsten Olowinski saved the ball after a Creighton miss with 1:48 to go for her eighth rebound of the contest. It was the 924th of her career as she passed Miami Hall-of-Famer Monica Niemann (1991-95) to become the Red and White's all-time leader in that category.
Olowinski was also the team's leading scorer Friday, finishing with 13 points. It was a balanced RedHawk attack that saw Hannah Robertson score 11 and Courtney Osborn score 10. Miami scored 42 of its 57 points in the second half, shooting 66.7 percent (18-for-27) for the frame.
It was a very slow start for both teams as each team came out in an aggressive man-to-man defense. Olowinski and Osborn each hit layups, but the game was only 4-4 when it went to the second media timeout with 11:48 to go.
Out of the break both teams traded layups, with Kelsey Simon matching a Creighton hoop. The Bluejays would get their offense going as they hit four straight three-point baskets as part of a 17-4 run that made it 23-10 with 5:33 to go in the half. The RedHawks would refocus their defense from there, holding Creighton to only five more points, but they would only manage five free throws themselves as the Bluejays took a 28-15 lead into the half.
The RedHawks only shot 19.2 percent (5-for-26) for the half, while six three-point baskets for Creighton helped give them the lead.
The Miami offense came out firing in the second half as jumpers from Kristin Judson and Courtney Larson, along with a three-pointer from Osborn made 32-24 with 17:10 remaining. The Bluejays hit a jumper to get the advantage back to 10 at 34-24, but Miami responded with a 12-2 run over the next four minutes to tie the score at 36. During the run Simon and Olowinski hit jumpers, while Robertson would create the tie with back-to-back jumpers of her own.
Judson traded baskets with the Creighton offense as the teams found themselves tied at 40 with 11:08 remaining in the game. The Bluejays would get their three-point shooting going again as they hit three straight treys as part of a 13-3 run that made it 53-43 with 6:57 to go. They would make it 58-47 at the 5:37 mark before Miami would go on one final run.
A three-pointer from Robertson and a jumper from Larson would cut the lead to six at 58-52 with 4:45 remaining. After a pair of free throws by Creighton, Olowinski would drain a three-pointer to make it 60-55 at the 2:02 mark. That would be as close as the RedHawks would get as their shot went cold and the Bluejays hit their free throws to secure the 66-57 win.
Miami outrebounded Creighton, 36-26, for the game. Judson finished with seven points, while Simon had seven and Larson six. Osborn had a team-leading six assists, while Haley Robertson finished with five steals.
The RedHawks will conclude play at the Caribbean Classic when they take on Nevada on Saturday at 1 p.m. (EST).