photo courtesy UNI Athletic Communications
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Trailing 53-52 with less than 90 seconds play, the University of Northern Iowa women’s basketball team (8-9, 4-2 MVC) scored the final seven points to turn away Indiana State (3-13, 1-4 MVC) as the Panthers won, 59-53.
For the game, UNI sank 18-of-23 free throws from the charity stripe, but were golden from the line when it counted as the Panthers made five-of-six shots in the final 90 seconds to seal Sunday’s win.
Senior Kennedy Kirkpatrick scored 16 points to lead UNI, while sophomore Megan Maahs (12 points, 13 rebounds) and junior Ellie Howell (11 points, 10 rebounds) each posted double-doubles to aid in the Panther victory.
It was the Howell show early on for UNI as she drained a 3-pointer to open the game, before posting up for an easy basket down low. Indiana State’s Ashli O’Neal scored seven points to close out the quarter however, to even it at 14-14 at the end of the first quarter.
The Sycamores raced out to a 7-0 run to begin the second period, before Nicole Kroeger knocked down a corner 3-pointer to briefly swing momentum back to the home team. The Sycamores managed to earn a five-point advantage midway through the second quarter, but UNI chipped away at the lead before it finally crumbled thanks to a Kirkpatrick 3-pointer to give the Panthers a 31-29 lead at halftime.
UNI outscored INS 11-4 to open the second half, as the Panthers began to sink their teeth into another league win. The Sycamores wouldn’t go away easily however, as INS trimmed the UNI lead to 47-44 heading into the final quarter.
INS quickly erased the three-point deficit as the score was knotted up at 47-47 with 6:24 remaining in the game. The Sycamores took their first lead of the half with 4:34 left in the game, after a Wendi Bibbins basket in the post.
INS would take a 53-52 lead with 1:39 remaining, but the Panthers would battle back with four points from the charity stripe to take a 56-53 with just under a minute to play. Howell would drain a clutch jumper with only 13 seconds left to slam the door shut on any Sycamore comeback, before Kirkpatrick added a free throw to stretch out the final margin to 59-53.
The Panthers hit the road for Drake on Friday at 7 p.m. CT.
Fans can purchase season and single-game tickets to UNI women’s basketball home games through UNITIX. Call 319-273-4849 or visit www.UNITIX.uni.edu.
Release courtesy UNI Sports Information
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