ST. PAUL, MN – It was a career night for the UNI women’s basketball team as they beat the St. Thomas Tommies 102-62 in the program’s first meeting.
Despite a slow start to the game, the Panthers put up their best offensive performance in over 30 years. With 50% shooting from 3-point range and 52% shooting from the floor, UNI had its first 100-point win dating back to the 1989-1990 season when the Panthers put up 107 points in a win over Creighton on February 20th. It was also the first game this season where UNI led for the full 40 minutes.
“We had another terrific team win this evening to bounce back from a close loss,” said Head Coach Tanya Warren. “Our shooting from 3-point range was the best it looked and included contributions up and down the bench. Seeing Emerson and Kayba have big games from all parts of the floor was exciting and shows the potential of this team. I’m extremely proud of our ladies for a full 40-minute performance to have our best offensive output in my time here.”
In the first quarter, it took two and a half minutes for the first points from guard Nicole Kroeger. Two baskets later, senior guard Karli Rucker scored her 1,500th point on a 3-point jump shot. Rucker is one of only 5 Panther players to have scored 1,500 or more points in their career and the first since Madison Weekly in 2017. After jumping out to a 7 point lead, the Tommies would start to cut into UNI’s hot start as the teams traded baskets back and forth for the rest of the quarter.
The second quarter would start the same way the 1st ended with two minutes of trading buckets. The Panthers would go on a quick 6-point run to get their first double-digit lead of the game in the third minute of the quarter. UNI would get its next run with just over a minute left in the half, going 3 of 3 to end the half up 47-30.
The Panther’s best quarter of the game would come in the 3rd. Throughout the 10 minutes, UNI would shoot 100% from 3-point range and 66% from the rest of the floor. The Panthers also had their biggest run of the game in the 3rd, taking 13 points in a row through two minutes. UNI also excelled defensively in the 3rd with 12 rebounds and 4 steals, keeping the Tommies to only 9 points the entire quarter.
The Panthers would close out the game in the 4th, again shooting 50% from the floor. UNI’s continued strong 3-point shooting forced a St. Thomas timeout only 3 minutes into the quarter even as the Tommies had scored 8 points in that time. Out of the timeout, St. Thomas went on a 5-point run, but 2 quick jump shots from the Panthers would fizzle the Tommies scoring. UNI would go on a short 3-point run to end the game, winning 102-62.
As a team, the Panthers shot 36-68 (52.9%) from the floor, 16-32 (48.5%) from behind the arc, and 11-14 (80%) from the free-throw line. UNI had four players in double-digits with freshman guard Emerson Green leading the way at 17 points. Also in double-digits against the Tommies were Laube, Finley, and Rucker. Defensively center Cynthia Wolf had 11 rebounds and was one point shy of a double-double at 9. Point guard Maya McDermott also had a career game, setting a new career-high in assists with 10 through 21 minutes.
The Panthers return home to take on another Summit League foe in the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at the McLeod Center on Saturday, December 4th.