MOLINE, Ill. – For the first time in program history, the Panthers will take on the UIC Flames at a neutral site as part of Hoops in the Heartland, the Missouri Valley Conference women’s basketball championship tournament.
UNI women’s basketball vs. UIC
8:30 p.m. | March 11
Moline, Ill. | Vibrant Arena at the MARK (9,200)
ESPN+ | Scott Warmann: Play-by-play, Laura Leonard: Analyst
KXEL | Chris Kleinhans-Schulz: Play-by-play
UNI swept the regular season series against the Flames and will go for win number three late Friday evening. This is the second straight year that the Panthers have been the number three seed in the Hoops in the Heartland tournament with the last game of the quarterfinals. Last year, UNI beat the Valparaiso Beacons in the quarterfinals in a dominant 63-36 win over the sixth seed. The Panthers will look to do the same against UIC on Friday night.
– UNI finished the season with a perfect final week of Missouri Valley Conference play. The Panthers picked up three straight wins to end the regular season, having their second straight season with 20+ wins.
– The Panthers had a special moment at the beginning of their final home contest against Missouri State. Senior center Cynthia Wolf was able to start one last game and made UNI’s first basket of the game in a pregame agreement with Missouri State. Wolf suffered a season-ending injury against Murray State on Feb. 25 and appeared on Saturday to celebrate Senior Day.
– Sophomore guard Emerson Green had her best all-around game of the season on Saturday against Missouri State. Green led in every statistical category but blocked shots for UNI. In 34 minutes against the Lady Bears, Green made 24 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals with no turnovers. The performance tied to career highs for Green in rebounds (9) and field goals made (8).
– For the second year in a row, the Panthers enter Hoops in the Heartland as the number 3 seed in the tournament. Last year as the three seed, UNI made it to the Championship Game after wins over Valparaiso and Missouri State. This is the fifth year the Panthers comes into Hoops in the Heartland as the No. 3 seed over the past decade. As the three seed, UNI has made it to the final day of the tournament twice and into the semifinal round all but one year.
– UIC comes into Friday night’s game with their first Hoops in the Heartland tournament victory over the Valparaiso Beacons. The Flames led wire-to-wire on Thursday night to pick up their first postseason win since 2017.
– The Flames ended the regular season with their best record in nine years at 17-14 under first-year Head Coach Ashleen Bracey. UIC ended the season with one of the best turnarounds in the country, picking up 14 more wins than last season and going above .500 for the first time in eight years.
– UIC had one player recognized for her play on the court by Missouri Valley Conference coaches, sports information directors, and media members on Wednesday night. Graduate transfer Josie Filer landed on both the All-MVC Third Team and the All-MVC Newcomer Team after joining the Flames from Omaha. Filer averaged 12.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 31.2 minutes per game this season.
– Junior guard/forward Jaida McCloud became the latest Flame to reach 1,000 points in her career in the final game of the regular season. With a 22-point performance against the Murray State Racers last week, McCloud entered Thursday’s game with 1,038 career points. She now sits at 1,054 career points following a 16-point outing against Valparaiso to open tournament play.