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No. 21 Drake women roll in MVC; UNI tips Salukis

MOLINE, Ill. — Two-time Player of the Year Becca Hittner scored 18 points and No. 21 Drake used a game-breaking run in the first quarter on Friday to roll to an 86-58 win over ninth-seeded Valparaiso in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament quarterfinals.

Maddy Dean added 16 points, Sara Rhine 14 and Monica Burich 10 for the Bulldogs (26-5), who have won 11 straight. The three-time defending league champion and two-time defending tournament winner faces fourth-seeded Illinois State in Saturday’s semifinals.

Dean’s 3-pointer broke a 2-2 tie and kicked off an 18-0 run with contributions from six different players. The lead was 21-5 after one quarter as the Crusaders missed 11 straight shots after making their first one of the game. Their second make was their first shot of the second quarter.

The second quarter was pretty even but not until an 8-0 run had pushed the lead to 23.

Addison Stoller had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Valparaiso and Grace Hales had 15 but the two combined to shoot 7 of 25.

The Crusaders shot 28 percent for the games while Drake was at 52 percent.

UNI 66, Southern Illinois 63

Taylor Hagen drove to the basket and hit a contested layup with 17 seconds left to give the Northern Iowa women’s basketball team a 64-63 lead, and the third-seeded Panthers held on for a 66-63 win over sixth-seeded Southern Illinois in Friday’s quarterfinals.

The Panthers led much of the final three quarters, but Southern Illinois rallied to take a 60-58 lead with 1:48 to play in the game. The Panthers responded with a 4-0 run with free throws and a bucket by Karli Rucker to regain a 62-60 lead with a minute to play.

SIU’s Brittney Patrick hit a 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock with 35 seconds left to steal a 63-62 advantage, but Hagen drove from the 3-point line to convert the layup and put UNI back on top for good.

After a missed shot by SIU, Heidi Hillyard grabbed the rebound and was fouled. She hit both free throws for the 66-63 Panther lead.