South Dakota 68, Creighton 58
VERMILLION, S.D. (goyotes.com) -- South Dakota scored the game's first 10 points and that was the difference in a 68-58 win against Creighton in the first round of the WNIT Thursday inside the DakotaDome.
Nicole Seekamp scored a team-high 21 points and Raeshel Contreras scored 11 of her 14 points in the first half as the Coyotes improved to 15-0 at home this season. South Dakota will travel to face Northern Colorado (21-12) Sunday in Greeley at a time to be announced. Northern Colorado defeated Colorado State 53-48 Thursday in Fort Collins, Colo.
Alexis Akin-Otiko scored 23 points to lead Creighton (17-14), which placed fifth in the Big East this season. Marissa Janning, last year's Big East Player of the Year, had 11 points on 4 of 16 shooting. She had two points in the first half and got her first field goal with 12 minutes remaining in the second.
Contreras, who began the Summit League Tournament with a 3-pointer, hit a triple to start the 10-0 rally and scored a layup in the paint to finish it. Contreras hit three treys in the first half and finished 4 of 7 from downtown. Her fourth 3 came on the opening possession of the second half.
South Dakota led 30-12 following a three-point play by Kelly Stewart with seven minutes to go in the first half. It was the eighth point off the bench for Stewart, who made her first three shots of the game and finished with 10 points.
The Coyotes made 12 of their first 22 shots while Creighton made 5 of its first 21. Janning was 0 of 8 in the first half and South Dakota took a 36-24 lead into halftime.
Janning's first bucket got the Bluejays within nine points at 48-39. Akin-Otiko hit a jumper with seven minutes to go that cut the lead to 54-51.
Creighton thrice got within three points, but South Dakota had the answer and often it was Seekamp. She converted a three-point play with 5:19 to go that made it 59-53. She spun and hit a jumper in the lane with 1:29 left that made it 63-58. Seekamp was 7 of 11 from the field, made all seven free-throw attempts and had five rebounds.
Lisa Loeffler closed the door on Creighton. She buried a 3 with the shot clock winding down to push the lead to 66-58 with 38 seconds left. She rebounded a missed free throw on the other end of the floor, was fouled, and made two free throws with 25 seconds left for the final points of the game. Loeffler had seven points and six rebounds.
South Dakota was 14 of 14 from the free-throw line in the second half and 16 of 17 for the game. Creighton made 10 of 14 from the stripe. The Coyotes gained a 43-28 edge on the boards. Creighton had 15 steals and forced 21 turnovers.