WBB: MVC Week 9 Recap

The UNI Panther women’s basketball squad wrapped up their conference road schedule at 6-3, thanks to a Sunday victory versus Southern Illinois.

The 76-67 performance versus the Salukis capped the weekend after a 58-48 loss to Missouri State in Springfield Friday.

The Panthers gave up a season-high 31 turnovers as the Bears opened that game with an 8-0 run and never trailed.

In the loss, UNI’s Taylor Hagen notched a double-double with ten points and ten rebounds. It was the second double-double of her NCAA career, and her first in Missouri Valley Conference action.

Karli Rucker was held to eight points Friday, but the Panther sophomore took over Sunday’s game late in the second quarter.

She had made the first two baskets of the afternoon. Then, into and out of halftime, Rucker was responsible for 14 consecutive UNI points, including four made three pointers, on her way to a career-high 28 during the victory. For the game, she was 8-for-14 from the floor, including six three-pointers.

Taylor Hagen (13) and Mikaela Morgan (10) joined Rucker in double figures.

The early buckets by Rucker started the Panthers toward a wire-to-wire victory. It was 17-11 after one period and 32-26 at the half. UNI won the third quarter and each team had 20 during the final ten minutes.

The Panther win came despite Bre Gunnels and Heidi Hillyard each ending the day early with five fouls.

Perhaps most important, UNI sliced their turnover number to less than half of what it had been on Friday, giving up the ball to the Salukis just 14 times.

Now the Panthers close their regular season schedule at home trying to protect third place in the MVC standings. Their two closest pursuers, Bradley and Illinois State, visit the McLeod Center on Thursday and Saturday respectively.