ROSEMONT, Ill. –The Butler women's basketball team was eliminated from the 2014 BIG EAST Tournament on Sunday with a 61-52 loss to No. 3 seed Creighton. The Bulldogs finished the 2013-14 season with a 15-15 overall record which included a 10-8 mark during their first BIG EAST season.
"You have to give Creighton a lot of credit," Head Coach Beth Couture said post-game. "It's tough to beat a team three times, but I thought they [Creighton] played really well. Their bench played a big factor in this game, with his kids hitting a couple of big threes. I'm really proud of my team, and proud of my seniors."
Four players scored in double figures for Creighton on Sunday at Allstate Arena. Sarah Nelson scored 21 points while MC McGrory added 12 for the Bluejays (19-12). McKenzie Fujan and sophomore guard Marissa Janning, the BIG EAST Player of the Year, each had 10 points. Janning was held scoreless until the 8:11 mark in the second half when she connected on a pair of free throws.
"Obviously we have a lot of respect for Butler given the first two games," Creighton Head Coach Jim Flanery explained. "We have a really hard time scoring the ball against them, and today was no different. The grind-it-out nature of the first half contributed a lot to the result of the game. It helped that we just played them on Tuesday."
Daress McClung scored a game-high 25 points for Butler on 10-of-17 shooting. The senior added four rebounds, two steals and a block in 25 minutes of playing time. McClung scored the first seven points of the game for BU, but she was sent to the sideline early in the game after picking up her second personal foul. No other Bulldog reached a double figure scoring total, yet the Bulldogs stayed in the game by shooting 42 percent from the field.
"We really played the whole first half without Daress [McClung], and for her to still come in and have 25 points was big," Couture added. "She wanted to will us to the win, but at the end of the day we didn't get that."
Creighton led 21-20 at halftime in a low scoring first half, after a buzzer beater by MC McGrory. Butler returned to the floor to claim a 27-26 lead on Lexus Murry's layup with 16:40 to play, but Creighton went ahead for good 42 seconds later on Nelsons 3-pointer. The Bluejays steadily extended the advantage and the Bulldogs never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Creighton meets St. John's in Monday's Semifinals. The Red Storm topped Seton Hall 66-60 in an earlier Quarterfinal game.
Butler swept two regular season meetings, including a 67-59 decision in last week's regular season finale, and came into the tournament riding a three-game winning streak.