CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The UNI women’s basketball team handed the Wichita State Shockers their first loss of the season Saturday morning with an explosive offensive performance, winning 87–55.
In a game that started off looking like a defensive battle, the Panthers turned on the heat in the second half with their best offensive performance of the young season. Over 40 minutes UNI shot from at least 50% in all areas of the floor.
“Today was a terrific team win especially in the second half,” said Head Coach Tanya Warren. “We were good on both sides of the ball as we had contributions from across our roster. I thought our second half was terrific, both offensively and defensively.
“I thought our ball movement while we were on offense got us some good shots throughout the game. Seeing Nicole go back to back to back with four threes was outstanding. I’m extremely proud of our ladies. It says a lot about our team when we can win by such a large scoring margin.”
UNI and Wichita State traded baskets back and forth to start the game after the Shockers won the tipoff. Wichita State would then go on a 4-point run to grab the lead for just under 4 minutes. The Panthers would tie the game up with two left to go in the quarter off a hook shot from center Cynthia Wolf. The Shockers would grab the lead one more time before the end of the 1st on a fast break layup. But the UNI would tie it back up again in the last 2 seconds with a layup from forward Bre Gunnels.
In the second quarter, Wichita State would get the first points on the board to break the tie. The Panthers came back quickly just a minute later with a 3-point shot from guard Kam Finley. It would be more back and forth basketball for the next couple minutes until the Shockers went on a 5-point run in the middle of the quarter. UNI would get back to scoring with just under 4 minutes to go as guard Emerson Green made a driving layup. The Panthers would then jump out to another short lead right before the half ended with a contested layup from guard Maya McDermott to head into halftime up 35-33.
It was off to the races in the second half for the Panthers who would jump out to a 38-35 lead in the first minute and not look back. Guard Nicole Kroeger sank three buckets from 3-point range in a row to grow UNI’s lead to 7 in just over two minutes. The Panthers would go on an 8-point run pushing the lead out to double digits before the Shockers would get another basket. UNI would end the quarter on a 9-point run getting their lead up to 21. The Panthers would close out their best quarter of the game with another 3-pointer from McDermott for her first of the game.
It was smooth sailing for UNI in the final 10 minutes of the game. The Panthers had a 10-point run, their best of the game, to start the quarter and grow their lead to 29. Wichita State would get in a short run before UNI would close out the game by pulling starters for bench players in the final 6 minutes of the game. The Panthers would hand the Shockers their first loss of the season with an 87-55 win.
As a team, UNI shot almost 50% from all areas of the court, including 33-60 (55%) from the floor, 12-25 (48%) from behind the arc, and 9-15 (60%) from the charity stripe. The Panthers scored the majority of their points from the paint and the line with 45. UNI also had 28 points off of turnovers with 36 points scored by bench players.
Individually Kroeger was the standout for UNI with 16 total points from 5 field goals, 4 three-pointers, and 2 free throws. Three other Panthers had double-figure scoring outings, including Gunnels, Finley, and McDermott. All 13 players that went in for UNI had positive time on the floor in the +/- category.
The Panthers get a full week off of games for the Thanksgiving holiday before hitting the road to Nebraska. UNI will visit the Creighton Bluejays on Saturday, November 27th at the Wayne and Eileen Ryan Athletic Center and D.J. Sokol Arena. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m.