Panther women open MVC action with a win

CEDAR FALLS – It was an ideal way to kick off the new year in Cedar Falls on Friday night as the UNI women’s basketball team tallied its first conference win, a 62-51 rout of Evansville.

Madison Weekly, Jen Keitel and Angie Davidson all brought in double figures for the Panthers (6-6, 1-0 MVC) in the conference win at home. Weekly, who was also 5-5 from the charity stripe, led the Panthers with 17 points. Keitel had 11 and Davidson had 10.

The Purple Aces (1-11, 0-1 MVC) led just twice, their largest lead by five points in the second quarter. But in a game that the Panthers were able to open up to as much as 15 points in the fourth quarter, a comeback was not in store for Evansville in UNI’s conference home opener.

An 11-2 run in the third quarter got the score back to 41-35 in favor of the Panthers after earning a 15-point lead. But the Panthers were able to hold on by some crucial 3-point shooting to move to 1-0 in the MVC.

UNI shot 42.9 percent from the floor overall Friday night, including upping its percentage in the second half by shooting 44 percent. The Panthers didn’t have much of a chance to shoot free throws, but took advantage when they did, going 8-10 from the line.

The Panthers were also able to play a fairly clean game, outscoring the Purple Aces 12-9 in the turnover column. Rebounding was nearly dead even with Evansville tallying one more rebound, 26-25.

Davidson’s 10 points was a career-high for her, which was achieved by shooting 5-8 from the field and 50 percent from 3-point land. She also clocked a career-high 30 minutes of playing time.

UNI comes back on Sunday to host Southern Illinois. The Salukis are 8-5, 1-0 MVC this season. The match is set to tip off at 2 p.m.

Southern Illinois 77, Drake 67

DES MOINES – Four players finished in double figures as Southern Illinois opened Missouri Valley Conference play with a 77-67 win over Drake on Friday at the Knapp Center.

Cartaesha Macklin led the Salukis (8-5, 1-0) with 23 points. Rishonda Napier scored 20 points, including making four 3-pointers.

Drake (7-5, 0-1 MVC) was led offensively by Lizzy Wendell’s 16 points, with 14 coming in the fourth quarter. Caitlin Ingle had 15 points, Maddy Dean had 13 points and freshman Sara Rhine had 12 points.