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Why the Creighton women have dominated Nebraska recently, and what the Huskers can do to fight back

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Alabama A&M vs. Nebraska, 11.14

Nebraska's Ashley Scoggin (0) goes for a layup while being guarded by Alabama A&M's Nigeria Jones (5) in the third quarter Sunday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

This is Creighton week for the Nebraska basketball teams.

The men got things started on Tuesday, with Nebraska and Creighton playing at Pinnacle Bank Arena. About 23 hours after that game ends, the schools' women’s basketball teams will play on the same court Wednesday.

The Nebraska women come into the game with the better start to the season: a 3-0 record and a scoring average of 99.3 points per game, which ranks fifth in the nation. Meanwhile, Creighton is 1-1.

But for five straight years, Creighton has beaten Nebraska, including a 78-62 win in Omaha last season.

Creighton’s program hasn’t been that much better than the Huskers over that five-year stretch, but it’s been way better in the head-to-head series.

During those five years, Creighton has won 59% of its games overall (87-60) and made two NCAA Tournament appearances. Nebraska has won 49% of its games in those five years (72-75) with one NCAA Tournament appearance (2018).

Last season, both teams played in the WNIT, with Nebraska finishing 13-13 and Creighton 10-12.

But Creighton has used its lineup of smaller and quicker players to beat the Huskers. Creighton gets up the court quickly, gets three-point attempts, and makes them. Last season the Jays made 13 threes (from eight players) against Nebraska, and the year before that it was 14.

One of the top priorities for the Huskers will be to defend the three-point shot, and do so with all five players.

“Run them off the line,” Nebraska guard Sam Haiby said. “They have a lot of shooters on their team. All of them can shoot at any moment. And then just pounding them inside. We definitely have a size advantage there, so playing our basketball and knowing what we can do and getting good shots that way.”

Haiby will be playing Creighton for the fourth time.

“I haven’t won a game since I’ve been here against Creighton,” Haiby said. “They’re in Nebraska, too, so it’s kind of a statement you want to make, like, we’re the better team in Nebraska. Especially on our home floor, we don’t want to lose to them.”

Husker forward Isabelle Bourne also doesn’t like what’s happened in the series.

“Those losses are more fuel to the fire,” Bourne said. “We’re excited for that game, and we’re going to be ready for it, that’s for sure.”

This year, Creighton lost its first game against Drake 82-79, before beating Omaha 71-51.

The Jays made 14 threes in the first game, and eight in the second.

Ten Creighton players have made a three this season, led by Morgan Maly, who is 7-for-16 on threes.

Nebraska coach Amy Williams is expecting for the Bluejays to again pose a big challenge for Nebraska’s defense.

In beating Nebraska five straight games, Creighton has made 13, 14, five, 11 and 11 three-pointers.

“They have a lot of players that are technically forwards that really can step out and shoot,” Williams said. “So they can play kind of a five-out offense and everybody is a threat from the perimeter. Because they haven’t always had that traditional true back-to-the-basket big, and you’re not always finding yourself defending in the paint, that has given us a little trouble.”

Creighton has used 11 players this season, and four are from Nebraska: Payton Brotzki (Platteview), Jayme Horan (Millard South), Chloe Dworak (Lincoln Christian) and Maly (Crete).

Nebraska has played three Nebraskans — Alexis Markowski (Lincoln Pius X), Allison Weidner (Humphrey St. Francis) and Whitney Brown (Northwest).

Reach the writer at 402-473-7435 or bwagner@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsWagner.

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