Panthers continue to roll, winning streak now at six

UNI currently sits atop the MVC with a 9-2 conference record.


The UNI women’s basketball team continued their strong season with three impressive showings this past week against conference opponents. The first game was a no-sweat affair as the Panthers cruised over the Indiana State Sycamores last Wednesday night. 

UNI took some time to get into a groove in the first quarter, as junior guard Kam Finley opened up the scoring with a three-pointer, the first of two she made in the game. The team eventually caught fire, going on a 7-0 run to close out with a 22-12 lead. Both teams would go on a 7-0 stretch in the second quarter, but the Panthers would hold a double-digit lead going into the break. 

The third quarter was where the Panthers laid down their dominance by only allowing 4 field goals to the Sycamores, and scoring 20 points of their own. By the time the final quarter commenced, the Panthers had already amassed a 23-point lead, closing the door on a potential Sycamore comeback. 

Indiana State did make a valiant effort, going on an eight-point run in the final few minutes. But it was too little, too late as the Panther’s offensive firepower led to a 72-49 victory. 

That firepower came on all fronts as five Panthers scored in the double figures, with Finely leading with 15 points followed by Maya McDermott and Grace Boffeli at 13 and 11 points, respectively. Boffeli also recorded her fourth double-double on the season with 11 rebounds. 

The next game in the team’s homestead would not be as simple as the previous one, with the Loyola Ramblers proving to be much more capable on defense. The Panthers did make the first statement, scoring nine points in the three minutes. Loyola was able to answer back, keeping it a close contest that ended in a 14-14 tie at the close of the first quarter. 

Things stayed hot in the second quarter, with both teams experiencing hot and cold stretches on the offensive front. But it was the Panthers who ended on top as they completed a 10-2 run to close out the half with a 31-25 lead. 

Loyola commanded the first few minutes of the third quarter, cutting UNI’s lead down to just one point. The Panthers would have a response to each of Loyola’s attacks, eventually coming out of the quarter unscathed with a 47-39 lead. 

The fourth quarter was more of the same as Loyola put up a fight but just wasn’t able to overcome the deficit they had already dug. Emerson Green led the team in points in both the game and the final quarter, as she made some much-needed free throws and contested layups. She, along with Finley, finished with 14 points total. Free throws were UNI’s path to victory as they only missed two out of their 18 attempts. 

The win also gave head coach Tanya Warren sole possession of third place for MVC wins at 274.

The final game in their home stretch, and also their fourth in seven days, was against Evansville on Tuesday night. Senior forward Bre Gunnels led the Panthers in scoring with a career-high 20 points. 

The first quarter was a back-and-forth battle between the Panthers and the Purple Aces, with neither side gaining much of a lead over the other. It was a fifteen-second four-point run late that would give UNI the edge, closing out the quarter with a 20-16 lead. 

The second quarter was where Gunnels showed off her might, scoring from all over the floor. She had a three-pointer early on and rebounded her own misses for crucial second-chance points. Because of her and Finley’s offensive output, the Panthers headed into the locker room leading 40-29.

Even with their lead, the Panthers kept their foot on the gas. At one point they amassed a 16 point lead over the Purple Aces, thanks to impressive runs in quick succession. Evansville would hang on with some layups here and there, but the lead stayed at 15 by the time buzzer signaled the start of the final quarter. 

Gunnels and Finley converted the dagger buckets in the final quarter as the Purple Aces never came close to mounting a comeback. Along with her scoring, Gunnels also chipped in six rebounds and a team-high three steals in her 31 minutes of playing. 

The Panthers now sit with an overall record of 16-6 on the season, including 9-2 within the conference. They only get two rest days before they take on their toughest opponent yet this Friday in first-place Southern Illinois. That game will be the first in a two-game road stretch this weekend that will also take them to Missouri State on Sunday.