UNI defeats Drake, looks ahead to MVC tourney

UNI+defeats+Drake%2C+looks+ahead+to+MVC+tourney

TONI FORTMANN

BRIELLE KIEWIET

The UNI women’s basketball defeated in-state rivals Drake University 91-78 in the McLeod Center for their last game of the regular season on Friday, March 6. The game honored Panther seniors and marked the team’s first win over the Bulldogs since 2016.

UNI’s offense was led by Kam Finley early on in the game, where she built a 7-0 lead for the team. The Panthers continued their strong play and maintained the lead 44-35 at the break, tallying 18 points from Finley. Karli Rucker added 11 points.

An 8-0 run to start the third quarter gave the Panthers the 52-39 lead. The team was up 62-49 at the end of the third quarter and held the lead throughout the entire second half, securing the 13 point win. Finley recorded a career high 28 points on the game, crushing her previous high of 20 points after shooting a three with 6:42 remaining in the game.

Panther seniors Rose Simon-Ressler, Heidi Hillyard, Abby Gerrits and Kristina Cavey were all celebrated at Friday night’s game. All of the seniors have played in at least 27 of the 28 games this season.

The team is now 18-11 overall, 10-8 in the MVC, and 11-2 at home. The win over the Bulldogs marks the first time in school history that UNI has defeated Iowa, Iowa State, and Drake in the same season.

Now, the Panthers prepare for the MVC tournament, where they enter as fifth seed and take on Illinois State. Tournament play will begin for the Panthers on Friday, March 13 with the championship game taking place on Sunday, March 15.