GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Morgan Maly scored a career-high 21 points to help 10th-seeded Creighton beat Iowa State 76-68 in the women’s NCAA Tournament on Friday night, becoming one of the lowest seeds to ever reach a women’s regional final.
Tatum Rembao added 19 for the Bluejays, who entered the Greensboro Region semifinals savoring the program’s first run to the Sweet 16. Creighton has joined Lamar in 1991 and Oregon in 2017 as 10-seeds that pushed to the Elite Eight. Gonzaga was the lowest-seeded ever at No. 11 to reach Elite Eight in 2011.
The challenge ahead is even bigger for the Greensboro Region upstart: a matchup with No. 1 overall tournament seed South Carolina for a trip to the Final Four.
Creighton (23-9), which upset second-seeded Iowa in the second round, shot 55% after halftime with six 3-pointers. As third-seeded Iowa State (28-7) made a desperate comeback to within three points, the Bluejays maintained control by knocking down enough free throws to keep the Cyclones and Associated Press second-team All-American Ashley Joens at arm’s distance.
Rembao was key in that, making 6 of 8 in the final 45 seconds.
As the final seconds ticked away, the Bluejays in the game shared a group hug near midcourt. When the horn sounded, Rembao hurled the ball skyward, while the players ran over to celebrate in front of the Creighton fan section.
The celebration also included players dousing Maly with water as she did a TV interview at midcourt, and then again when she rejoined the team.
Emily Ryan had 22 points, eight rebounds and six assists to lead Iowa State, which shot just 38%. Joens had 14 points but made just 3 of 11 shots and got much of her production at the line (7 of 7).
Creighton: The Bluejays had showed plenty of composure by beating the Hawkeyes last weekend on the road, led by Lauren Jensen’s late 3-pointer. This time, they played with confidence in the third quarter and didn’t panic as the Cyclones inched closer and closer.
Iowa State: Iowa State’s win against Georgia last weekend provided a measure of redemption for a team that missed on a chance to go to last year’s Sweet 16 by losing on a last-second overtime shot to Texas A&M. Longtime coach Bill Fennelly said he had thanked his players “50 times” for getting him back to this point and encouraged them to enjoy the moment. But they couldn’t quite follow that with another step to the program’s first Elite Eight since 2009.
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap
More AP coverage of March Madness: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.