MILWAUKEE - Former AGWSR prep Jess McDowell hit three 3-pointers, scored 11 points and buried the game-winning shot Friday during the Panthers' narrow 61-59 win over Marquette in the WNIT at the Al McGuire Center.
It was the first WNIT victory for the Panthers in school history. It also was the third win over Marquette in the program's history.
McDowell, who was removed from the starting lineup earlier this season, hit the game-winning shot with 2 seconds to go on the clock. She also picked up four rebounds and had two steals in 32 minutes off the bench.
UNI senior Jacqui Kalin, the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, added 18 points, six assists and three rebounds in the win as the Panthers will next face Ball State in Muncie, Ind., on Sunday. That game will tip off at either noon or 1 p.m.
The Panthers led by as many as 12 in the game and held a 32-24 lead at the half. The key to the victory was 24 bench points, led by McDowell and Stephanie Davison, who both scored 11. Davison was 3-of-4 from 3-point range.
Marquette got 16 points from Arlesia Morse and Sarina Simmons in the loss, and the Golden Eagles came up short despite out-rebounding the Panthers 39-34 and making 18-of-24 from the line. The Golden Eagles were just 1-of-10 from downtown.
Northern Iowa 61, Marquette 59
UNI (17-16) - Kirschbaum 3-8 1-2 7, Kalin 6-18 2-2 18, Schonhardt 2-5 0-0 4, Brown 2-5 0-0 6, Keitel 0-0 2-2 2, Davison 4-7 0-2 11, McDowell 4-9 0-0 11, Donaldson 0-2 0-0 0, Morgan 1-3 0-0 2. TOTALS 22-57 5-8 61.
MARQUETTE (16-16) - Pumroy 0-4 0-0 0, Plouffe 2-7 6-8 10, Bigica 0-1 1-2 1, Morse 5-11 5-6 16, Simmons 7-15 2-3 16, Ojulu 4-8 2-2 10, Butler 1-5 2-3 4, Young 1-7 0-0 2. TOTALS 20-58 18-24 59.
Halftime-UNI 32-24. 3-Point Goals-UNI 12-29 (Kalin 4-11, Davison 3-4, McDowell 3-8, Schonhardt 0-1, Donaldson 0-1, Morgan 0-1), Marquette 1-10 (Morse 1-4, Pumroy 0-1, Simmons 0-2, Young 0-3). Rebounds-UNI 34 (Kirschbaum 11), Marquette 39 (Plouffe 9). Assists-UNI 15 (Kalin 6), Marquette 7 (Plouffe 3). Total fouls-UNI 18, Marquette 11. Fouled out-Keitel. A-787.
Northern Iowa, on the other hand, buried 12 triples in the win and hit five of its eight free throws. The Panthers improved to 13-5 this season when they hit at least eight treys in a game. it was the 10th time this year that UNI has connected on at least 10 3-pointers in a single game.
The Panthers led by 10 with 15:22 to play in the game, but Marquette used a late run to get back into the game. The Golden Eagles (16-16) got to within five with 6:20 to play following a 7-0 run.
The UNI lead then got down to just one a few minutes later after Katherine Plouffe buried two free throws. The Golden Eagles then took their first lead of the contest with less than 4 minutes to go after Simmons hit a long jumper.
Davison then canned a triple to give the Panthers another lead. Marquette eventually tied it with 25 seconds to go, which set up McDowell's game-winning layup.
Amber Kirschbaum finished with 11 rebounds, giving her at least 10 rebounds in three straight games.