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Women’s College Basketball: UNI blows away Sycamores, 91-51

CEDAR FALLS – The Panthers extended their win streak to three games in a 91-51 victory over the Indiana State Sycamores.

CEDAR FALLS – The Panthers extended their win streak to three games in a 91-51 victory over the Indiana State Sycamores.

Everyone was firing on all cylinders for UNI as the entire Panther lineup saw the floor in their beat down of Indiana State. Four players reached double-digit scoring while junior forward Rachael Heittola had her best game in a UNI uniform. Heittola matched a career-high three treys near the end of the third quarter for a 14-point game.

“It was another terrific team win,” said Head Coach Tanya Warren. “I thought from start to finish we were locked in on both ends of the floor. At halftime, we talked about taking the scoreboard out of it and instead focusing on how much better we can be instead. And I thought we did a terrific job of staying focused for 40 minutes today.”

UNI jumped out to an early lead against Indiana State thanks to a Grace Boffeli three and shots at the line for guard Maya McDermott. The Sycamores would close the gap quickly, coming within a point of the Panthers shortly before the midway mark of the first. UNI responded with a nine-point run for a double-digit lead. The Panthers controlled the rest of the way, keeping Indiana State scoreless for the last four minutes of the quarter.

It was a slower start to the second quarter for UNI as the game moved to a back-and-forth pace. At the halfway mark of the second, the Panthers went on a small scoring run to force a Sycamore timeout with a 20-point lead. Indiana State was able to match UNI for the rest of the quarter. But a foul drawn by Boffeli in the waning seconds of the first half put the Panthers up by 16.

UNI kept its foot on the gas coming out of the locker room for the second half. The Panthers put up 32 points in the third quarter as they were able to run out to a 36-point lead in the first four minutes. The 22-2 run for UNI put the game out of reach for the final 17 minutes of play. The Sycamores tried to get the game back in hand with their best scoring run of the day. But seven consecutive points from forward Ryley Goebel and guard Kayba Laube over the last minute and a half of the third had the Panthers back up by 33 for the final 10 minutes.

It took UNI almost three minutes to score in the fourth, but a foul drawn by McDermott gave her two points at the line to go a perfect six of six on the day. McDermott’s trip to the line lit an offensive spark for the Panthers as they made three treys on three back-to-back plays. Up by 37 with under five to go, UNI pulled its starters letting the bench close the game out. The Panthers put up nine more points on the day, dominating Indiana State for the 91-51 win.

UNI led in almost every statistical category outside of total rebounds on Sunday afternoon. The Panthers shot 48% from all areas of the floor and spread the ball around with 22 assists. On the defensive side of the ball, UNI brought down 43 boards with 10 steals and four blocks.

Boffeli, McDermott, Heittola, and guard Emerson Green had double-digit performances. Boffeli led all players with 23 points while bringing down a team-high eight rebounds. Heittola would be the next highest-scoring performer for the Panthers with 14. Goebel had another strong day on defense with seven rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.

UNI returns to the road this upcoming week with stops in Chicago and Valparaiso. The Panthers start by visiting the UIC Flames to play in Credit Union 1 Arena for the first time in 18 years. Tip-off for the matchup with the Flames on Friday, Feb. 10 is set for 7 p.m.

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