Panthers sprint past Racers, 81-54



Grace Boffeli (42) finished with another double-double in the win over Murray State on Friday, compiling 21 points and 14 rebounds.


The UNI women’s basketball team played their first Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) game on their home floor on Friday, hosting Murray State. Both teams came in with 2-0 records in MVC play, but it was UNI that pounced on the Racers right away, pulling off a dominant victory, 81-54.

The Panthers got off to an outstanding start, scoring 12 of the first 14 points and forcing a Murray State timeout leading 12-2 less than three minutes in. However, the Racers did get things slightly closer, going on a 5-0 run to end the quarter trailing UNI 16-12.

The Panthers started the second quarter hot, going on a 10-1 run that included eight points from Emerson Green. Despite their best efforts, the Racers could not get anything going in the second period, losing 21-5 in the quarter. A stifling Panther defense combined with an offense clicking on all cylinders gave UNI a 37-17 advantage at the break.

The Racers did have a better start to the third quarter, getting within 15 points, but the Panthers would once again pull away, leading by 19 at the end of the third quarter, 59-40. UNI poured it on in the fourth quarter, pulling ahead even farther late and finishing with a very impressive victory over a high-quality opponent, 81-54.

Grace Boffeli led the way for UNI and continued the outstanding season she has had to this point. Boffeli had another double-double, pitching in 21 points with 12 rebounds. It was also a great game for Green, finishing with 17 points. Maya McDermott also finished in double figures with 10 points as well as four assists, tied for a team-high. Freshman point guard Taryn Wharton also impressed, scoring nine points in 19 minutes off of the bench.

Katelyn Young led the way for Murray State. The All-American scored 17 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Macey Turley and Bria Sanders-Woods also scored in double figures, finishing with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

“I thought it started with our defense,” Head Coach Tanya Warren said after the game. “I thought we did a terrific job of defending and helping and knowing where the help was coming from.”

With the win, UNI improves to 8-4 on the season, 3-0 in the MVC. Next up for the Panthers will be another home conference game, hosting a talented Belmont team on Sunday.