McDermott sends Panthers past Bulldogs



Kam Finley hugs Maya McDermott while the rest of the Panthers celebrate in the background following the conclusion of UNI’s 70-69 victory over Drake.


On Wednesday, Jan. 11, the UNI women’s basketball traveled to Des Moines for an in-state Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) matchup with the Drake Bulldogs. Both teams entered the game with a 3-1 record in MVC play, looking to move to the top of the standings. Ultimately, it was a back-and-forth game that saw UNI win in the closing seconds.

To begin the game, both teams scored on their opening possessions, tying the game at 2-2. However, both teams went quiet after this, going scoreless for nearly four minutes before a Grace Berg 3-pointer put Drake up 5-2. While leading 11-9 late in the opening quarter, Drake forced two UNI turnovers and was able to score the final seven points, leading 18-9 after a quarter.

UNI quickly got the game closer to begin the second quarter, scoring six of the first eight points and outscoring the Bulldogs 21-17 across the 10 minutes. However, the Bulldogs still led going into the break, 35-30.

The Panthers came out of the locker room for the second half ready to go. After allowing the first basket of the third quarter, UNI scored the next nine points, taking the lead, 39-38. The teams continued going back-and-forth throughout the remainder of the quarter, but Drake did have the final word, scoring 10 of the last 13 points to lead 57-50 heading into the fourth quarter.

Drake was attempting to cling to their lead in the final 10 minutes, but back-to-back baskets from Maya McDermott tied the game at 63 with two minutes to play, and a 3-pointer from Kayba Laube gave the Panthers a 66-63 lead with just over a minute to go. Drake’s Sarah Beth Gueldner knocked down what appeared to be a game-winning jumper with four seconds remaining, giving the Bulldogs a 69-68 advantage and forcing a UNI timeout. However, the Panthers were not to be denied, and a McDermott floater with less than a second remaining gave UNI a dramatic victory, 70-69.

It was a great all-around game from McDermott, finishing with 19 points and six assists to lead the team in both categories on top of hitting the game-winning shot. Grace Boffeli pitched in 11 points with a team-high 11 rebounds for yet another double-double. It was another great performance off of the bench for Taryn Wharton, as the freshman finished with 10 points.

For the Bulldogs, Katie Dinnebier, Grace Berg and Taylor McAulay all finished with 12 points to lead the team. Berg added a team-high nine rebounds.

“It was another great team win,” Head Coach Tanya Warren said after the game. “I thought we were relentless. We weren’t perfect but we stayed true to our game.”

“Maya’s had some really good games, but I thought that was probably the best second half she’s played in her career,” Warren said, referring to her sophomore point guard. “Just a terrific and gritty effort from everyone.”

With the win, UNI improves to 9-5, 4-1 in MVC play. The Panthers will be back in action on Sunday, traveling to Evansville, Ind. for a matchup with the Evansville Purple Aces.