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Preview: Elite Eight Cinderella Creighton continues to challenge itself year after, Stanford next

The No. 21 Creighton Bluejays face the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal in the second of three games in a row against a ranked opponent.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 18 Women’s Tennessee at Stanford
Hannah Jump is shooting 51.3 percent from three with 40 makes.
Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The No. 2 Stanford Cardinal (11-1) host the No. 21 Creighton Bluejays (8-2) on Tuesday in a matchup that will be a measuring stick for how good the Bluejays truly are. Stanford has been on a roll ever since losing to No. 1 South Carolina, winning six in a row. The game will be on broadcast on the Pac-12 Network and has a late tip-off scheduled for 10 p.m. ET.

Stanford has been as good as advertised. No. 2 in the country, the only loss against No. 1 South Carolina and the dynamic trio of Hannah Jump, Cameron Brink and Haley Jones clicking on all cylinders. For the best team in the Pac-12, a matchup against Creighton presents a good challenge against one of the top projected teams from the Big East. A dominant win will ensure they stay at the No. 2 spot and give the team significant momentum going into their first Pac-12 game of the season on Friday against Cal.

To get off to a good start, it’s all about Cameron Brink. Leading the team in points, blocks and rebounds, she is the force that fuels the team, and feeding her the ball early will be vital to establishing dominance against the Bluejays.

Creighton will undoubtedly be underdogs playing Stanford on the road and being 8-2 and losing recently to St. John’s and Arkansas. The skepticism that they can compete with Stanford is fair. If they want to pull off the upset, they’ll need top performances from their guards, Morgan Maly and Lauren Jensen. Maly is averaging 17.7 points and 6.4 rebounds and Jensen is right behind her with 16.8 points and 4.2 rebounds. If they can outperform the Stanford backcourt, that could be enough to tip the scales in their favor.

Can the Bluejays slow down Cameron Brink? That responsibility will likely fall on Emma Ronsiek and Mallory Brake. They’ll have to make Brink work for every basket and try to keep her off the offensive glass. Easier said than done, but that’s likely the sole path to victory.

Game information

No. 2 Stanford Cardinal (11-1, 0-0 Pac-12) vs. No. 21 Creighton Bluejays (8-2, 2-1 Big East)

When: Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 10 p.m. ET

Where: Maples Pavillion in Stanford, CA

How to watch: Pac-12 Network

Key to the matchup: If the Pac-12 Player of the Week Cameron Brink gets going early it could be a long day for Creighton. The Bluejay forwards will have to slow Brink down as much as possible and their backcourt needs to have their best game of the year. The rebounding battle will be key as Creighton needs to keep Stanford off the offensive glass.