Panthers take down Billikens, 84-64

CADEN SHEA, Sports Editor

The Panthers continued their winning ways on Sunday night as they defeated the Saint Louis Billikens 84-64 on their home court in the McLeod Center. Nearly the whole Panthers team aided in the non-conference victory. The Panthers utilized great ball handling and passing, allowing for them to secure a dominant victory. The win allowed UNI to stay undefeated with a record of 2-0 after their first pair of games. 

This was a very impressive game from point guard Maya McDermott who dropped a career-high 23 points Grace Boffeli also had a great game with 12 points and 12 rebounds, obtaining her second double-double of the year with only two games played this season. Kam Finley was the third leading scorer on the team with 11 points over her 23 minutes played. Freshman Ryley Goebel had a dominant defensive game with four blocks as well as nine rebounds in only 14 minutes of play. 

The game started as a heated battle as both teams traded back and forth for the better part of the first half. Both teams had momentum through the first half, making it an uphill battle for the Panthers if they wanted to hold that momentum for the rest of the game. The momentum shifted permanently with four minutes left in the first half after a three-pointer from Kayba Laube gave the Panthers the lead for the remainder of the game. The Panthers closed the first half on top with a close score of 35-32.

The Panthers entered the second half with the goal of winning planted firmly in their minds. They took off early, growing their lead to eight points in the first few minutes of the second half with scores from McDermott and Finley. The Billikens attempted to sneak up on the Panthers a few times during the third quarter but UNI would not let them back into the game. The Panthers commanded the game from there on out, leading by as much as ten points towards the end of the quarter. 

The Panthers were in the drivers seat for the rest of the game as they outscored Saint Louis 25-19 in the final frame of play. McDermott scored 10 points in the final quarter alone. The Panthers had 16 points off turnovers and 17 second chance points on the game. The Panthers 20 point win was a statement to all future opponents of this season that they are not to be taken lightly.

The Panthers turn their attention to Wednesday when they play the seventh-ranked Iowa State Cyclones in the McLeod center in front of a raucous crowd of UNI fans. The Panthers will attempt to stay undefeated when they face the No. 7 team in the country at 6 p.m. on Wednesday night.