2016 Big East women’s basketball tournament: No. 7 Creighton upsets No. 3 Seton Hall

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2016 Big East women’s basketball tournament: No. 7 Creighton upsets No. 3 Seton Hall

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The Creighton Bluejays had already knocked out 10-seed Providence and 2-seed Villanova this weekend in the Big East Tournament and their reward was a semifinal matchup against 3-seed Seton Hall. The Pirates had swept the regular season series after an 86-82 win at Creighton in December, followed by a 77-71 win at home in February.

Third time’s a charm for the Bluejays as they continued the string of upsets and beat Seton Hall 77-56 at McGrath-Phillips Arena to book a spot in the final. It’s the third time in Big East history a 7-seed made it to the final, but never has one won before.

“We knew we could win. We had just played them at their place and it was a very tight game,” Creighton coach Jim Flanery said. “Even though we were 0-2 against them (on the season), I think our familiarity with them and the fact that we’d been so close twice worked to our advantage.”

MC McGrory had herself a game against Seton Hall scoring 23 points and grabbing eight rebounds while Jade Owens added 16 points. The two carried the team past the Pirates

“A lot of us were really hyped up because we haven’t had this opportunity before,” Owens said. “You don’t think about how you’re tired, you don’t think about your legs, you’re just think about playing your best and really living out the experience and having fun.”

The Bluejays’ defense caused the Pirates a lot of trouble from the opening whistle up until the final buzzer, even limiting them to just eight points in the first quarter. Whenever Seton Hall’s offense started going, the defense failed and allowed Creighton easy baskets on the other end.

Seton Hall switched to a full-court press midway through the third quarter in an attempt to stifle Creighton’s free-flowing offense. While it worked a few times early, the Bluejays picked up on it and were able to easily move the ball down the court throughout the rest of the game.

“We were kind of familiar with their press and we talked about it a lot…we kind of knew what to do and what not to do and just taking care of the ball,” Owens said.

McGrory and Owens said they never saw themselves as underdogs throughout the tournament despite playing the 2-seed and 3-seed in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively.

“We really felt like we could play with those teams and we could beat those teams,” Owens said. “We came out with a lot more confidence and we’re trying to show that we’re not a 7-seed.”

The team knows there’s somewhat of a Cinderella-esque feel to their run, similar to that of the Connecticut men’s team in the 2010-11 season who entered the Big East Tournament as a 9-seed, won the tournament and locked up a bid in the NCAA Tournament.

Those Huskies went on to win the NCAA Tournament, too.

For Creighton, Flanery is just proud of his team to have made it this far with the season-ending injury to star Marissa Janning happening midway through the season.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity in front of us tomorrow night,” he said. “We have one more top seed to beat.”