VERMILLION, SD – The Panthers faced off with the Coyotes of South Dakota in their fourth of five straight road matchups. South Dakota jumped out to a quick lead which UNI worked to come back and make it close before a late run by the Coyotes pushed the game out of reach for the Panthers.
The Coyotes notched the first seven points of the matchup to take the quick lead. Rachael Heittola sank the first UNI bucket to end the run and put the Panthers on the board. Cailyn Morgan followed that up with a three-pointer to cut even further into the South Dakota lead.
The Coyotes would record the next seven points before a run-ending three-pointer from Kayba Laube for her first points of the game. South Dakota extended their lead to 17 points with an eight-point run late in the first quarter. Heittola would end the run with a basket to work to cut into the Coyotes’ commanding lead. The Panthers ended the first quarter on a 10-1 run to head into the second with an 18-26 deficit.
The second quarter started all purple as the Panthers held the Coyotes scoreless for the first three and a half minutes of the quarter. In that time, UNI recorded six points and cut the Coyotes’ lead to just two points on a Maya McDermott layup.
Back-and-forth baskets from the two squads saw South Dakota hanging on to a six-point lead at 40-34 heading into halftime.
Heittola opened the scoring for the Panthers out of the break, but South Dakota answered with back-to-back buckets. An Emerson Green three-pointer was followed by a three-pointer and an and-one layup to push the Coyotes’ lead back out to 11 at 50-39. Ryley Goebel netted another layup before another South Dakota run. The Coyotes would close the third quarter and open the fourth quarter on a 16-point run which was ended by a layup from Taryn Wharton, her first points of the matchup.
Back-and-forth baskets from both teams saw a score of 80-59 in favor of the Coyotes with three and a half minutes remaining in the contest. A three-pointer from Shateah Wetering with just over two minutes left were her first points of the game before Kayba Laube knocked down another three for the final points of the matchup.
South Dakota came away with an 84-65 victory when all was said and done. Rachael Heittola led the Panthers with 15 points. She added three rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Maya McDermott was the only other Panther in double figures with 11 points. She led UNI with seven rebounds.
South Dakota now leads the series with an 8-6 record. They are now 7-0 in Vermillion.
Ryley Goebel recorded her first points of the season in the second quarter.
UNI has lost five straight matchups for the first time since the 2014-15 season.
The Panthers finish their five-game road stand with a matchup at Creighton on Sunday. The game tips off at 1 p.m. CT and can be streamed on FloHoops or listened to on the Panther Sports Radio Network.