Panthers split season openers in Preseason WNIT




The UNI women’s basketball team started the season strong, hosting the University of Delaware Blue Hens in the first round of the Women’s NIT (WNIT).The Panthers won by a score of 79-67.

Delaware started off impressively on a 6-0 run over the Panthers, but UNI had a strong response as they scored 12 straight to go up 12-6. From there on, the Panthers never trailed Delaware for the remainder of the game.

Four of the Panther players recorded double-digit points. Sophomore guard Karli Rucker led the way with 25 points, followed by Megan Maahs with 17 and Ellie Howell and Abby Gerrits tallying 15 points each.

Maahs also recorded her first double-double of the young season, adding 10 rebounds to go along with her 17 points.

UNI led in nearly every statistical category for the game. They tallied a 39.3 field goal percentage, 26.3 percent from behind the arc and shot a solid 86.7 percent from the free-throw line. They also led in rebounds 46-41. The only category they fell behind in was steals where they tallied one and gave up 10.

After moving on from the first round of the WNIT, the Panthers traveled to Milwaukee, Wis. to take on the 19th ranked Marquette Golden Eagles, who came off a huge 48-point win over Montana State. Marquette started out on a 7-0 run and things just kept rolling for the Golden Eagles from there.

Three Panthers were able to score double figures in the 102-61-point loss. Ellie Howell led the team with 15 points, followed by Bre Gunnels and Abby Gerrits both tallying 12. It was a special game for Howell as she joined the career 1,000-point club.

The Panthers as a whole recorded a 31.8 percent shooting percentage and 31.3 percent from beyond the arc. UNI also shot 80 percent from the free throw line.

The Panthers will be placed in a consolation game in the WNIT after falling to 1-1 on the season. They will travel to Dekalb, Ill. to face the Northern Illinois Huskies, who fell to Iowa State in the second round. The game will be played on Sunday, Nov. 18 with a tip-off time of 2 p.m.