Becky Strathman scored 24 points as No. 23 Creighton beat San Diego State, 89-66, in semifinal action Friday night at the Western Athletic Conference women's basketball tournament.
Creighton earned the right to play for the WAC championship and the conference's automatic NCAA playoff berth Saturday night against the winner of the Utah-Brigham Young game, played later Friday.
Creighton (26-3) led only 42-39 two minutes into the second half. The Jays then outscored the Aztecs 27-12 over the next 10 minutes.
"I think good teams have good runs," said SDSU captain Michelle Miles. "And we each had a run in the game. We cut it to four in the second half, but we had a couple ill-timed turnovers on our part. They (went on to) hit a couple tough shots and that swung the momentum back to them and they made their run."
Right before Creighton made its run, Coach Bruce Rasmussen called timeout, having noticed a flaw in the Aztecs' defense.
"I felt that we weren't taking advantage of the matchups at that point," Rasmussen said. "After that we did a very nice job."
Kathy Halligan, the WAC player of year, scored eight of her 16 points during the ensuing stretch, giving Creighton a 69-51 lead with eight minutes to play.
The Jays coasted from there to their 14th consecutive victory.
"I think there's a whole lot of truth in the fact that the closer you get the harder it is," said SDSU Coach Beth Burns. "When you watch any championship tournament, being No. 2 is worse than being No. 222."
SDSU (18-11) was led by freshman forward Michelle Suman's 22 points. Felicia Wright added 13.
Strathman was five for six from three-point range. Center Kris Kugel added 17 points and Melissa Sanford added 14.