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UNI women’s hoops ends the 2023-24 season in round two of the WNIT at Saint Louis, 64-68.

ST. LOUIS - UNI women's basketball traveled to St. Louis to take on the Billikens of Saint Louis University. The WNIT round two matchup saw UNI just out to a lead after some back-and-forth action, but ultimately fall in the end and finish the season after a 68-64 loss in Missouri.

ST. LOUIS – UNI women’s basketball traveled to St. Louis to take on the Billikens of Saint Louis University. The WNIT round two matchup saw UNI just out to a lead after some back-and-forth action, but ultimately fall in the end and finish the season after a 68-64 loss in Missouri.

The matchup between the Panthers and Billikens was neck and neck through the first couple of minutes with seven lead changes and one tie in the first five minutes of action. Saint Louis struck first with a layup before Kayba Laube drained a three-pointer to take a 3-2 lead. Another layup from the Billikens was answered by a jump shot from Grace Boffeli. Saint Louis took a 6-5 lead with a layup before a layup from Boffeli gave UNI back the lead at 7-6. A six-point run from the Panthers featured a three-pointer from Maya McDermott to give the Panthers a 13-8 lead just out of the first-quarter media timeout. UNI closed the quarter on a 4-2 lead including a buzzer-beating jumper from Cailyn Morgan to hold a 17-10 lead after 10 minutes of action.

A three-pointer from Shateah Wetering gave UNI the first double-digit lead of the game, a 10-point lead at 20-10, to open the second quarter. She hit the first two buckets of the second quarter for the Panthers with a layup to follow up her triple. An 8-1 lead from the Billikens into the second-quarter media timeout saw the UNI lead dwindle to just three points at 23-20 after five minutes of play in the second quarter. The Panthers pushed their lead back out to seven points with back-to-back buckets from Ryley Goebel and Taryn Wharton before Saint Louis closed the half with back-to-back three-pointers to cut the UNI lead to one point heading into the halftime break.

Out of the break, Saint Louis took a lead at 28-27 with a layup. Another back-and-forth opening with four lead changes in the opening minutes. Out of a media timeout, McDermott hit a pair of free throws to extend the Panther lead to four points at 34-30. SLU went on a 6-2 run to tie the game at 36-36 heading into the third-quarter media timeout. Out of the break, Taryn Wharton knocked down a pair of free throws before SLU took the lead after a four-point run at 40-38. A McDermott three put UNI back in the driver’s seat before five points from the Billikens gave Saint Louis a four-point lead. Down the stretch of the third quarter, the Billikens outscored the Panthers 4-3 to close the third with a 49-44 lead.

Saint Louis opened the final frame on a five-point run before eight points from the Panthers including a pair of three-pointers from Kayba Laube to cut the SLU lead to two points at 54-52. A three-pointer and jump shot followed from Saint Louis before a layup from Cailyn Morgan. The Billikens had another answer with a 5-2 run to take an eight-point lead with shot time remaining. Laube finished the game with two more three-pointers and Taryn Wharton hit a jump shot, but the Billikens answered every Panther bucket with one of their own and came out ahead by a final score of 68-64.

The UNI offense was led by Kayba Laube with 15 points on five three-pointers. Taryn Wharton was the other Panther in double-figures with 10 points. Both Grace Boffeli and Ryley Goebel finished with a team-high seven rebounds.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

UNI ends the season in the second round of the WNIT after a 68-64 loss to Saint Louis. This was the second time in program history the Panthers have fallen to the Billikens.
The Panthers finished the season 16-16, the 15th consecutive .500+ season. The Panthers have gone .500 or better in 15 of Warren’s 17 years at the Panther helm.
Maya McDermott finishes the season with the program’s best single-season free throw percentage. After going 2-for-2 against the Billikens, McDermott finishes with a 96.4% free-throw percentage (80-for-83), beating Jacqui Kalin’s previous record of 95.5%.

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