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Rockets fall to Creighton, 76-49, in first-round NCAA Tournament game

Sophomore guard Mikaela Boyd scored 11 points, but it wasn’t enough to counter the hot shooting of Toledo’s first-round opponents in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championships. The Rockets fell to Creighton, 76-49, Friday at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, Ore.

Toledo (25-9) trailed by 22 points at the half and could only get as close as 16 points in the third quarter. Creighton (23-7), regular-season Big East champions, had a hot-shooting night, making 47.3 percent of its shots from the field and 43.5 percent from three-point range. Toledo shot 32.3 percent from the floor and made just 2 of 10 shots from behind the arc. Sophomore center Kayla McIntyre and freshman guard Mariella Santucci each added 10 points to the UT cause.

Sophomore guard Mikaela Boyd scored 11 points for the Rockets.

Creighton came out on fire, with guard Marissa Janning scoring 15 of her game-high 19 points in the first six minutes of the contest. She hit her first three shots from behind the arc, her third triple at the 4:11 mark giving the Bluejays an 18-4 lead, and forcing Head Coach Tricia Cullop to call timeout. Creighton extended the lead to 27-12 on a mid-range jumper by Sydney Lamberty on the final shot of the first quarter.

Boyd tried to keep the Rockets close. Her jumper early in the second quarter cut the lead to 27-14, but Creighton was relentless. Kylie Brown scored on an inside basket, and Audrey Faber knocked down a jumper to up the margin to 31-14 with 7:47 left in the half. Moments later, Lamberty hit another jumper, making the score 35-18 and causing Cullop once again to stop the action with a timeout.

Freshman guard Mariella Santucci guarded a Creighton player.

Creighton went a 9-0 run late in the half to open up a 44-20 lead. Santucci’s layup with 28 seconds cut the Bluejay lead to 44-22 at the half.

Creighton shot a sizzling 15 of 29 from the field in the first half, including 7 of 14 from three-point range. Toledo hit just 11 of 34 (32.4 percent) in the opening half and did not hit a three-pointer in seven attempts.

Toledo came to life in the third quarter, scoring the first six points of the period, all by McIntyre, to cut the Creighton lead to 44-28 and forcing a Bluejay timeout. But Creighton countered with a 7-2 run, capped by a layup by Brianna Rollerson to make the score 53-32 going into the media timeout of the third quarter.

The Bluejays ended the quarter on another 8-3 run, giving them a 63-35 lead after three quarters of play.

The closest the Rockets would come in the fourth quarter was 24 points when junior guard Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott scored to cut the lead to 67-43 with 5:56 left.

While the Rockets’ season comes to an end, Creighton advances to face host Oregon State (30-4) Sunday. The No. 2 seed Beavers survived an early scare from No. 15 seed Long Beach State, knocking off the 49ers, 56-55, in the day’s first game at Gill Coliseum.