SPORTS SHORTS: Drake women drub Valparaiso, 86-50

DES MOINES — The Drake women’s basketball team put a beatdown on Missouri Valley Conference newcomer Valparaiso here Friday, beating the Crusaders 86-50 at the Knapp Center.

Drake (6-7, 1-0) never trailed and led by as many as 46 points in the lopsided triumph, taking a 47-22 lead into halftime.

The Bulldogs shot 52.7 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from 3-point range, connecting on 14-of-30 attempts from distance. Nicole Miller scored a career-high 18 points to lead Drake, going 3-for-5 from 3-point range, while Sara Rhine added a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Becca Hittner had 11 points and Maddy Dean tallied nine points and a career-best 12 assists.

No Valparaiso player scored in double figures, as Dani Franklin led the Crusaders (7-5, 0-1) with 9 points.

Drake hosts Loyola on New Year’s Eve, entertaining the Ramblers in a 2 p.m. game Sunday in Des Moines.

Panthers pour it on to pound Loyola

CEDAR FALLS — Mikaela Morgan matched her career-high with 18 points, going 4-of-6 from 3-point range to help the Northern Iowa women’s basketball team bury Loyola 70-41 in Friday’s Missouri Valley Conference contest at the McLeod Center.

Ten different players put up points for the Panthers (5-7, 1-0), who outscored Loyola 24-8 in the second quarter to command a 41-20 halftime lead. UNI never trailed in the MVC opener for both teams.

Nicole Kroeger pitched in 11 points off the bench for Northern Iowa, which shot 50 percent from the field and forced 21 Loyola turnovers.

Abby O’Connor was the only Rambler to reach double-digit scoring, leading Loyola (2-10, 0-1) with 11 points.

Northern Iowa hosts MVC newcomer Valparaiso at 2 p.m. Sunday at the McLeod Center.