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Women’s College Basketball: Three Panthers earn all-conference awards

CEDAR FALLS - Three members of the UNI women's basketball team have been recognized for their play this year by the Missouri Valley Conference.

CEDAR FALLS – Three members of the UNI women’s basketball team have been recognized for their play this year by the Missouri Valley Conference.

Sophomore forward Grace Boffeli earns her second All-Conference honors, moving up to the First Team thanks to a league-leading performance in the 2022-23 season. Sophomore point guard Maya McDermott also makes her second appearance on an All-Conference team, named to the Second Team after appearing on the All-Freshman team two years ago. Freshman forward Ryley Goebel earns her first All-Conference honors this season as a member of the All-Freshman Team.

Over the past season, Boffeli led the Panthers in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 16.2 points and 8.9 rebounds a game. Boffeli led the Valley in four different categories by the end of the regular season, topping the league in double-doubles (13), free throw attempts (191), rebounds (259), and rebounds per game (8.9). Boffeli started all 29 regular season games for UNI and improved her stats in the conference season to 16.4 points and 9.4 rebounds a game.

Along with appearing on the All-MVC Second Team, McDermott was named the Most Improved Player of the Year by league coaches, sports information directors, and media members. Since last season, McDermott moved into the starting point guard role where she improved her overall game, raising her points average from 5.4 to 14.6 and her assists average from 1.7 to 3.5 Speaking of assists, McDermott is nationally ranked in both assists per game and assist to turnover ratio. McDermott is in the top 50 nationally for assists to turnover ratio at 2.10. McDermott leads the league this season in free throw percentage. Averaging 91% of all charity stripe makes, McDermott is sixth in the nation at the line with three other players from across the country.

Goebel showed the makings of a star in the post in her freshman season with the Panthers this year. She appeared in 27 games this season for UNI, averaging 3.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.3 blocks a game. During the conference season, Goebel increased her performance to 1.4 steals and 1.5 blocks a game. She was one of only two freshmen in the Top 10 for steals in the MVC and was the only freshman to be in the Top 10 in both steals and blocks.

The Missouri Valley Conference announced its All-Conference Teams on Wednesday evening at their inaugural awards banquet at Rhythm City Casino. These awards include First Team, Second Team, Third Team, All-Defensive, All-Freshman, and All-Newcomer. The MVC also announced its specialty awards Wednesday evening.

The Panthers enter Hoops in the Heartland as the no. three seed for the second year in a row. UNI will play its first game of the tournament on Friday, March 10 at 8:30 p.m. The Panthers will play the winner of Thursday’s game between UIC and Valparaiso.

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