Drake, UNI women win MVC home openers

DES MOINES — The Drake women’s basketball team led by as many as 29 points and breezed to a 69-60 victory over Loyola in Friday’s Missouri Valley Conference home opener for the Bulldogs.

Drake (11-4, 3-0) took a 66-30 lead into the fourth quarter before Loyola (7-6, 1-1) countered with a whopping 30 points to trim the final margin back to single digits.

Becca Hittner led the Bulldogs with 16 points, Sara Rhine had 15 points and nine rebounds, and Maddy Dean added 11 points and a team-leading four assists in the comfortable win inside the Knapp Center.

Sammi Bachrodt and Brenni Rose chipped in eight points apiece for Drake, which outscored Loyola 50-18 in the paint.

Loyola was led by Abby O’Connor’s 14 points and seven rebounds. Ellie Rice contributed 13 points and Janae Gonzales made four 3-pointers off the bench for 12 points for the Ramblers.

Drake is back at home on Sunday in MVC action, hosting Valparaiso in a 2 p.m. game.

UNI 71, Valparaiso 52

CEDAR FALLS — The Northern Iowa women’s basketball team utilized a 21-0 run in the third quarter to power past Valparaiso in the Panthers’ MVC home opener on Friday, 71-52.

The visiting Crusaders (4-10, 0-2) bookended UNI’s 21-0 run in the third quarter in which six different players scored. Valparaiso scored the first basket of the second half but didn’t tally again until a pair of free throws halted the Panthers’ nine-minute run.

Mikaela Morgan led UNI (9-6, 2-1) with 15 points, Karli Rucker added 14 and Kam Finley finished with 10 points off the bench.

Addison Stoller and Allison Schofield led Valpo with 13 points apiece, but the Crusaders couldn’t overcome 22 turnovers.

UNI is back at home on Sunday, hosting Loyola in an 11:30 a.m. game at the McLeod Center.