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Originally published Monday, March 25, 2013 at 8:26 PM

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Creighton loses 68-52 to Lady Vols in NCAA tourney

Creighton's long-shot bid to reach its first regional semifinal in the women's NCAA tournament ended when the Bluejays couldn't do any damage from long range.

AP Sports Writer

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Creighton's long-shot bid to reach its first regional semifinal in the women's NCAA tournament ended when the Bluejays couldn't do any damage from long range.

The 10th-seeded Bluejays were outscored from beyond the 3-point arc for only the second time this season, losing 68-52 to Tennessee on Monday night in the second round.

Tennessee, the No. 2 seed, went on a 13-0 run early in the second half to break open a close game and advance to an Oklahoma City Regional semifinal Sunday against No. 6 seed Oklahoma.

"They're just a little bit more athletic, a little bit longer," Creighton guard McKenzie Fujan said. "It's kind of hard to get looks when they're up in your face like that."

Creighton (25-8) came in ranked second nationally with just over nine 3-pointers per game, but the Bluejays posted season lows in 3s (4) and 3-point percentage (18.2 percent).

"Realistically, I thought we needed to make at least eight or nine (to win)," Creighton coach Jim Flanery said.

Creighton instead shot 4 of 22 from beyond the arc, while Tennessee went 6 of 10.

"That's huge for us," Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said. "All year long, we haven't defended the 3 ball very well at all."

Kamiko Williams led Tennessee (26-7) with 15 points. Ariel Massengale added 11, while Meighan Simmons and Taber Spani had 10 apiece.

Alexis Akin-Otiko scored 12 points for Creighton.

Tennessee improved to 52-0 in NCAA tournament games on its home floor and raised its all-time NCAA tournament record to 114-23, a mark that includes eight national titles and 18 Final Four appearances. Creighton is 3-5 in NCAA tournament games.

But neither Tennessee's partisan crowd nor the Lady Vols' rich postseason history intimidated Creighton in the early going.

Creighton briefly led 16-15 midway through a first half that also featured five ties, the last coming after Creighton center Alyssa Kamphaus made it 24-24 on a layup with 3:38 left. Tennessee led 35-29 at halftime.

Although the Bluejays weren't shooting as well as usual, they stayed close by outrebounding a taller team for the second consecutive tournament game. Creighton outworked Tennessee 35-29 on the boards overall and 17-8 on the offensive glass.

"I felt we could play with Tennessee," Flanery said. "I really did."

But the Bluejays let the game slip out of reach by shooting 1 of 12 in the first eight minutes of the second half.

After Fujan's basket cut Tennessee's lead to 35-31 with 17:35 remaining, Tennessee picked up its energy level on defense and broke the game open.

"Tennessee, they're super athletic at all five positions," Creighton guard Ally Jensen said. "That's something that we struggled with a little bit. We got a little lackadaisical with the ball."

Spani started the run with a 3-pointer and followed with a steal. Bashaara Graves delivered a basket in the paint. Williams then made a steal and passed to Simmons, who threw it back to Simmons for a fast-break layup. Massengale and Simmons capped the 13-0 spurt by sinking consecutive 3-pointers.

Tennessee eventually led by as many as 19. Creighton got back into the game with a 7-0 run, cutting the deficit to 59-50 on a pair of Jensen free throws with 4:42 left, but that's as close as the Bluejays got the rest of the way.

"We're proud of our team and the season we've had, the way that our players have pushed our program forward," Flanery said. "Hopefully, we're building toward even better things."

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