Panthers fall to Indiana State in OT, defeat Bradley


The women’s basketball team split two MVC matches in the McLeod last week, falling to the Illinois State Redbirds 61-69 in overtime on Thursday, Feb. 20 and defeating the Bradley Braves 64-57 on Saturday, Feb. 22.

“All of our goals are still in play but one,” said head coach Tanya Warren. “Can we win the regular season? No. But everything else for us is still in play. There’s a lot still to be played for, and that’s our mindset, that’s our approach.”

The Panthers took the Redbirds into overtime after recovering from their 14 point deficit in the first half on Thursday night. Illinois State held the lead throughout the first half and scored a buzzer beater to put them up 30-21 at the break.

Panther offense came out strong in the second half, outscoring the Redbirds 36-27. A free throw from Karli Rucker with 11 seconds left in the game put the Panthers ahead 57-54, taking them into overtime. The Purple and Gold could not catch up, as the Redbirds outscored them 12-4 in overtime, taking the 69-61 win.

Kam Finley led the Panther offense with 14 points and Karli Rucker tallied five assists.

The Panthers returned to the McLeod Center on Saturday night where strong defense played a key role in their seven-point win against the Bradley Braves.

The teams traded leads throughout the first half, but the Panthers fell behind 21-28 at the break. Panther offense came out strong in the third quarter to regain the lead 41-38. Rucker continued her impressive play, leading the Panthers offensively with 16 points and going 6-6 from the free throw line.

The Panthers continued their strong play into the fourth quarter where they took an eight-point lead with 2:32 left to play. UNI controlled the rest of the game, ending with the 64-57 win. The Panthers went 21-61 from the field and outrebounded the Braves 46-41.

“The league’s a grind,” said coach Warren. “And if you’re not ready to play, some not so good things can happen.”

Next, the Panthers play two games on the road. They will travel to Indiana to take on Valparaiso on Friday, Feb. 28 and Illinois to play Loyola on Sunday, March 1. The Panthers are now 16-10 overall and 8-7 in the MVC.