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Lauren Jensen, Emma Ronsinek lead hot-shooting Creighton into second round with 87-73 win over UNLV

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lauren Jensen scored 25 points, Emma Ronsiek added 23 and Creighton sank 15 3-pointers in an 87-73 victory over UNLV in the first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament on Saturday despite 30 points from Desi-Rae Young.

Morgan Maly added 16 points for seventh-seeded Creighton (26-5), who will play UCLA on Monday night for a spot in the Albany 2 Regional. The Bruins (26-6) moved on with a 84-55 victory over California Baptist.

“We got open looks because we moved the ball," Creighton coach Jim Flanery said. "We screen well. We cut well. We played our bench, so when you do that, then you can stay fresh. You can move at a higher level than if you’re tired.”

Young was 15 of 19 from the floor in her final college game, and became the second 2,000-point scorer in UNLV women's history early in the second half.

“I’m just grateful that I was able to make history. I’ve been here since 2020 when coach Lindy (La Rocque) came in and it was just uphill from there, so I’m just extremely proud,” Young said. “We’ve won 60 games in the past two seasons that we played, so that’s amazing.”

Added Flanery: “I didn’t know she had that good a game until I looked at the stat sheet, but I’ll do that all day when you play from the lead against a team that shoots it as well as they do.”

The Bluejays came in 13th in the nation with 8.8 made 3-pointers per game. It is the 14th time in women's tournament history a team has made at least 16 in a game during the first two rounds.

In the first half, 10 of Creighton's 16 field goals were from beyond the arc as they were up by 14 at halftime.

Jensen, Creighton's leading scorer during the regular season at 17.1 points per game, was 8 of 12 from the field, including five 3-pointers.

Ronsiek, a senior forward who averages 16.7 points per game, scored all her points in the second half to get back on track after scoring only 17 points in her last three games.

“I’m tired of getting in my head, so I was just like, we’re not going to do that. I think I was 0 for 6 in the first half from 3, but I just kept shooting, and I normally don’t do that,” Ronsiek said.

Creighton had a four-point lead late in the second quarter before scoring eight straight points — including back-to-back 3-pointers by Maly — to take a 44-32 advantage into halftime.

“I don’t totally think it was the half-court defense that troubled us, it was our transition. They got too many wide-open looks,” UNLV coach La Rocque said.

BIG PICTURE

UNLV: The Lady Rebels have dropped six straight in the NCAA Tournament and haven't won since 1991, when they beat Texas Tech in the first round.

Creighton: The Bluejays lead the nation in free throw shooting at 82.5% and were 10 of 10 from the line.

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AP March Madness bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-womens-bracket/ and coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness