NORMAL — Standing in the greeters’ line during starting lineup introductions for the first time this season didn’t change Illinois State junior Katie Broadway’s perspective.
It did, however, produce an alteration to her jump shot.
Broadway snapped out of a 9-for-30 skid from behind the arc to connect on two key 3-pointers in each half without a miss Thursday to spark the Redbirds to a much-needed 70-57 Missouri Valley Conference victory over Creighton before a Redbird Arena crowd of 1,251.
“I’ve been getting in the gym a lot trying to get my shot back,” Broadway said. “I think the biggest thing was I had confidence in it this game. It was me telling myself I could do it. It’s what I’ve been doing my whole basketball career. A little slump brings confidence down, but I have to keep it up.”
ISU (11-6, 3-3 in the MVC) extinguished a three-game losing streak while Shala Jackson starting in place of Broadway represented the first change in starters all season.
“We came back after a three-game losing glitch and beat a very good team,” said Redbird coach Stephanie Glance. “The monkey was shot off our backs, and I’m glad he’s dead. We don’t want him to come back.”
Creighton (10-7, 4-2) enjoyed its lone lead of the evening at 2-0. Broadway contributed two 3-pointers to a 16-4 ISU surge that yielded a 20-8 lead.
“I’m really proud of Katie the way she responded tonight,” Glance said. “She played well at both ends of the floor.”
ISU hit seven of its first 10 shots but finished the half 3-of-14 to limit its margin at the break to 27-18. It was the Bluejays’ lowest first-half output of the season.
“The tougher team won tonight,” said Creighton coach Jim Flanery. “I thought they defended better than we did, obviously they rebounded better than we did and they executed better than we did.”
The Redbirds held a 43-29 lead after a Jackson driving basket with 9:53 remaining before Creighton clawed back within 45-40 on a Sarah Nelson steal and layup at the 6:44 juncture.
Broadway countered with a 3-pointer and tossed in another after a Kelsey Woodard rebound basket to extend the ISU lead back to nine.
“We gave up two threes to Broadway,” Flanery said. “I thought the first one was the biggest shot of the game, and the second one was probably the second biggest shot of the game.”
ISU conquered Creighton’s full-court press for three layups over the final four minutes and converted 11-of-12 free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
Redbird senior Emily Hanley was sporting a bandaged cut over her left eye to show for the battle with Creighton’s 6-foot-2 Nelson sisters, Kellie and Sarah, and emerged with game highs of 21 points and eight rebounds. Hannah Spanich also grabbed eight boards as ISU enjoyed a 37-26 rebounding edge.
Sarah Nelson and Woodard scored 17 points each to lead the Bluejays, who shot 31 percent from the field in the first half and 41 percent overall.
ISU held Creighton freshman flash Carli Tritz to 1-of-6 shooting and two points, eight below her average.
“We did a good job on Tritz. We had a number of guards who defended her,” Glance said. “We had to play well defensively to have a chance to beat Creighton.”