Panthers stay hot, douse Flames 55-47



Grace Boffeli (42) finished a rebound shy of a double-double on Friday, scoring 20 points while grabbing nine rebounds.

BEN LAHART , Sports Writer

The UNI women’s basketball team traveled to Chicago on Friday for a matchup with the UIC Flames. The Panthers were looking to continue their four-game win streak and remain in the running for a regular season Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) championship, and they did just that, securing a 55-47 victory.

The first quarter started off fast with Maya McDermott hitting a 3-pointer just eight seconds into the contest. The game was very tight throughout and that started early. Both teams only led by as much as three points in the quarter with four lead changes. UNI ended the quarter with another three to lead 15-12.

The second quarter was just as tight as the first with UIC quickly tying the game at 15-15. There were two more lead changes before UNI got their largest lead of the game, leading by four with under three minutes left. The Panthers led entering halftime, 26-24.

The second half started off in similar fashion to the first. The third period of play was just as close as the first two with five lead changes in a back-and-forth 10 minutes. A 7-0 run gave UNI a five point lead before giving up a 7-0 UIC run right after to go down two. A late Grace Boffeli layup tied the game going into the final quarter of play.

The fourth quarter was where the Panthers were able to separate themselves from the Flames. The quarter started off slow with no scoring until the 7:12 mark when UNI started their second 7-0 run of the game and never looked back. UIC was held scoreless for over nine minutes of game time before cutting into the Panthers lead, but it was too late. UNI outscored UIC 16-8 in the final quarter, with the help of 10 free throws, seven coming in the final 46 seconds. The Panthers won by a final score of 55-47.

Boffeli continued her excellent season with a team high 20 points on the night. This was her third game with 20 or more points in the last four outings. The sophomore forward also led the team in rebounds with nine. McDermott also had a nice game with her third straight 12-point game. She also led the team in assists with five. Both women rank in the top 10 in the MVC in points per game, while Boffeli also leads the conference in rebounds per game. 

The Panthers now sit at 16-6 on the season, 11-2 in conference, good enough for second place in the MVC. UNI is one of two teams with a top five offense and defense in the MVC, the only other team being Illinois State, who holds the top spot in the conference standings. 

UNI will next play at Valparaiso on Sunday, Feb. 12. The Panthers will have a chance to knock Illinois State off the top of the MVC on Thursday, Feb. 16 in the McLeod Center for the annual Pink Out game. Tip off will be at 6 p.m.