CORVALLIS, Ore. — Marissa Janning trailed her Creighton teammates as they left the floor Sunday.
Moments earlier, Oregon State coach Scott Rueck embraced her in the handshake line. She later said it was a moment she’ll remember a long time.
But after five years — and a difficult decision to redshirt last year — her Bluejay career has come to a close.
“For me to get a second chance at a senior season was just incredible,” Janning said. “(Rueck) was just saying how proud he was of me and how hard I’d worked. … It means a lot. I can’t put into words how much I appreciate that.”
Second-seeded Oregon State eliminated the No. 7 Jays from the NCAA tournament 64-52 Sunday in front of 5,660 at Gill Coliseum.
The Jays finished 24-8 after making their sixth NCAA tournament appearance in program history.
Janning and Brianna Rollerson, in their final game as Jays, scored a combined 17 points. Lauren Works, also a senior, had three points.
Sydney Lamberty spearheaded a fourth-quarter rally, but CU missed its last five field goals and didn’t score in the final 2:54 minutes.
“We played form behind the whole night but we were never out of the game,” coach Jim Flanery said.
Creighton cut the Beaver lead to six points with 6:42 left on a layup from Lamberty, prompting an Oregon State timeout.
“We said when we huddled up that we can do this,” said Lamberty, who had a game-high 19 points. “This game is still ours. We’ve come back from deficits bigger than this with less time. … I don’t think any of us ever really gave up.”
But the Beavers answered, scoring four consecutive points, capped by a deep bucket from Mikayla Pivec to make the lead 10 with 5:36 left.
“Creighton is so difficult to guard,” Rueck said. “We knew it would take a heroic effort defensively to slow them down. They operate with efficiency and unselfishness.”
After Janning scored with 5:20 left, the Jays had turnovers on consecutive possessions. Janning’s bucket was Creighton’s final field goal of the game. Jaylyn Agnew, who had six points, hit a pair of free throws with 2:54 left for the Jays’ final points of the season.
“There’s no question that this experience is going to help us next year,” Flanery said. “The more experiences that you have playing at this level and competing in our league, the more you can draw on.
“Just really proud of our team.”
The Jays lose three senior starters but return Lamberty, Agnew and Audrey Faber. Jade Owens will also return after redshirting this year.
“That’s a pretty good starting point,” Flanery said.
The Beavers advanced to play in their second consecutive Sweet 16, this year in the Stockton Regional, after advancing to the Final Four last season.
Lamberty and Janning both played 39 minutes. Oregon State’s Gabby Hanson and Sydney Wiese, both seniors, teamed up to score 26 points in their final home game.
Oregon State, which entered the game fourth nationally in rebounding margin, outrebounded Creighton 45-32. OSU starts two players at 6-foot-3 and 6-5.
“We had a hard time rebounding,” Flanery said. “That’s what I thought would be a key. Can our ability to stretch them out playing smaller and making 3s overcome their likelihood to beat us up on the glass?”
The Beavers led 52-42 after three quarters. Creighton, which used a 5-0 run toward the end of the quarter, matched Oregon State in made field goals with six during the third frame.
Oregon State took a 39-27 lead to halftime behind a 48.3 percent shooting. The Beavers led 17-10 after the first quarter after outrebounding the Jays 15-6.
Both Lamberty and Janning said playing in front of 5,660 was an enjoyable experience, even if they were Beaver fans.
“It was just an awesome experience,” Lamberty said. “We wouldn’t really want to be playing anywhere else. It’s awesome to get fans like that.”