Panthers remain undefeated in McLeod

Navigate Left
Navigate Right


UNI women’s basketball is now 13-7 on the season and remains undefeated at home after beating the Crusaders of Valparaiso 77-70 in the McLeod Center on Sunday, Feb. 2. 

“I thought our young women did a terrific job of adapting,” said UNI head coach Tanya Warren. “We had to play small, which is very out of the norm for us. But I thought we did a terrific job of adjusting.”

The Panther offense started out strong in the first quarter with a 13-0 run, giving them the lead 17-4 with 1:44 remaining. They ended the first quarter ahead 20-10. Valpo quickly caught the lead 23-22 in the second quarter after a 13-2 run. The Panthers returned with a 9-2 run and regained the lead 31-25 going into the half. They held the lead throughout the third quarter. 

“I thought every time they made a run, we answered the door and that’s what you have to be able to do,” said coach Warren. 

The Purple and Gold hit two three-pointers to start the fourth and quickly gain a 16-point lead. The Crusaders cut the lead 70-67 but were unable to catch up. Karli Rucker hit a three-pointer with 1:06 left in the game and the Panthers held the lead until the end. 

“For the most part I thought we defended extremely well,” said coach Warren. “I thought offensively, once we understood what they were really trying to do, we did a nice job of adjusting and hitting some big shots down the stretch.”

The Panthers outrebounded the Crusaders 39-31, with four Panthers scoring in double figures. Nicole Kroeger led the Panther offense with a season-high 18 points, followed by Karli Rucker with 17 points and a team-high five assists. Kristina Cavey tallied 12 points and Abby Gerrits had 11.

“I had some people say to me, ‘I thought you would win by a little bit more than that.’ I don’t think people really understand how good this league is,” said coach Warren. “And you’re never going to hear me complain about winning, not as good as this league is.”

The Panther women return to the McLeod Center for two games next weekend against Missouri Valley Conference-leading Missouri State on Friday, Feb. 7 and again versus Southern Illinois on Sunday, Feb. 9.