Panthers sprint past Sycamores, 91-51

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Rachael Heittola (32) scored 14 points in the win over Indiana State on Sunday, her highest point total since transferring to UNI this past offseason.

CADEN SHEA, Sports Writer

UNI continued their recent winning streak with a dominant win over the Indiana State Sycamores at home on Sunday. The Panthers had a great performance in every facet of their game with both offensive and defensive strategies working perfectly. The offense was especially on point with four different players recording double-digit points in the win. The win gave the Panthers their third straight victory and gave them a 10-2 Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) record. 

The Panthers started the game on fire and never cooled down for the entirety of the game. The Panthers nabbed the first five points of the game and looked to get the Sycamores off their game early. Indiana State would manage to come back and make the game a close one for a short stretch in the first quarter. The Panthers would respond in commanding fashion, going on a nine-point run and keeping their opponents scoreless for the remainder of the opening quarter, making 21-8 in favor of UNI early on. 

The second quarter was more tightly contested than the first, but still favored the Panthers. They went back-and-forth on scoring for the majority of the period until the Panthers would turn it on yet again to give them the 20-point lead about halfway into the second quarter. The Sycamores would close the gap a little bit, but not substantially, as the Panthers led 39-23 as the two teams headed into the locker room. 

The Panthers came back on to the court just as engaged as when they left it to start the third quarter. The Panthers put up an astounding 22-2 run to help seal the game once and for all. The Sycamores tried to sneak back into it with a decent run of their own but several Panthers rose up and took matters into their own hands to make sure the Sycamores would not have a grasp at the game at all for the remainder of play. The Panthers put up 32 points in this quarter alone compared to Indiana State’s score of 15. The Panthers went into the final period with a score of 71-38 over Indiana State. 

Neither team could get much momentum in the beginning of the fourth quarter but once the Panthers finally scored, they rarely stopped. UNI was on fire from everywhere, even having back-to-back 3-pointers to ignite an even bigger spark in their game. Even when the Panthers pulled the starters and the court was filled with mostly role players, they still scored consistently. The Panthers defeated the Sycamores with a final score of 91-51. 

Many Panthers enjoyed career performances in this outing. Rachael Heittola had her best game as a Panther with three 3-pointers and a total of 14 points. Four different UNI players had double-digit scoring performances. Grace Boffeli led the team with 23 points as well as eight rebounds. Maya McDermott had 12 points and Emerson Green had 11 points and five rebounds. Taryn Wharton and Ryley Goebel had superb defensive performances. Goebel had two steals, two blocks and seven rebounds while Wharton had one block, two steals and five assists. 

The Panthers will soon hit the road as they travel to Chicago to face off with the University of Illinois Chicago Flames on Friday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m.