WBB: Panthers Finish MVC First Half with Wins

WBB: Panthers Finish MVC First Half with Wins

FROM UNI ATHLETICS MEDIA RELATIONS

UNI women’s basketball doubled up Loyola in the first half and held on to top the Ramblers 70-50 Friday evening at the McLeod Center.

Karli Rucker tallied 12 points in the first half, including a layup at the buzzer to give UNI a 43-18 advantage at the break.

UNI closed the game 26-57 (45.6%) from the field and 10-28 (35.7%) from the three-point line. The Panthers held Loyola to 21-61 (43.75%) from the field and 2-13 (15.4%) from the three-point line. UNI tallied 14 assists and eight blocks for the game.

Rucker scored 15 total points while Abby Gerrits added 10.

Then Sunday, Rucker hit a three-pointer with just over a minute to play to break up a 22-11 Valparaiso run and help the Panthers hold on for the 77-70 win to stay undefeated at home.

Four players scored in double figures, led by Nicole Kroeger with a season-high 18. The win pushed the Panthers over .500 in Missouri Valley Conference play.

After trading buckets to start the game, the Panthers went on a 13-0 run to build a 17-4 lead with 1:44 left in the first quarter. UNI ended up with a 31-25 lead at halftime.

The Crusaders went on a 22-11 run to cut the UNI advantage to 70-67 with 2:46 to play. The two teams traded possessions, but couldn’t find the bucket until Rucker broke the streak with 1:06 left. The Panthers outscored Valparaiso 10-3 down the stretch to earn the win.

The Panthers had a strong contribution from the bench, outscoring the Crusaders 18-0 in that category. UNI also outscored Valparaiso 18-2 in fast-break points.

Along with Kroeger’s 18 points, Rucker added 17, Kristina Cavey scored 12 and Gerrits tallied 11.

The Panthers are again home for a pair of games next weekend, hosting Missouri State Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Southern Illinois Sunday at 2 p.m. the McLeod Center.