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Maya McDermott sinks another buzzer beater to give UNI regular-season sweep against Drake
Panthers win 49-47 on McDermott’s floater
CEDAR FALLS — The women’s basketball rivalry between Northern Iowa and Drake added another classic to its history Wednesday night at McLeod Center.
UNI guard Maya McDermott — who made a game-winning floater against the Bulldogs at Knapp Center on January 11 — once again sent the Bulldogs home with a loss with another floater at the buzzer for a 49-47 win.
“Wow, what an ending. It really was a gritty game,” UNI (14-6, 9-2 MVC) Coach Tanya Warren said. “I’m proud of the toughness we showed to get stops and make plays down the stretch. Honestly, our first quarter was probably the best quarter we’ve played all (season) and then our second quarter was probably the worst quarter we’ve played all year. What you saw tonight — it’s what (McDermott) does.”
Tied at 47 with 2.6 seconds remaining, Warren called back-to-back timeouts to set up the Panthers’ final play.
With Emerson Green and Cynthia Wolf’s cuts toward the basket well defended on the inbound play, McDermott got the ball at the top of the key and dribbled twice to 18-feet before letting the fateful floater fly.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our team,” McDermott said. “Emerson had the hot hand tonight. I wasn’t shooting my best. I didn’t play my best. I just had to get open and launch up that shot. (Warren) knows I practice those. Just got lucky (and) it went in again.”
Prior to a tight fourth quarter, Drake (12-7, 7-4) had recaptured all momentum built by UNI in a first quarter where it outscored the Bulldogs, 24-8.
Trailing by 16, the Bulldogs — who frequently switch between player-to-player and zone defenses — switched to zone and quickly slowed down the Panthers’ offense.
UNI’s offense fell stagnant, going scoreless for all but 16 seconds of the second quarter A 15-2 Drake run headed into halftime brought the Bulldogs within a possession at 26-23.
A 7-1 third-quarter run by the Bulldogs included a pair of contested layups from Anna Miller — who finished with a game-high 15 points off the bench — including a go-ahead layup for Drake’s first lead of the game with 11 seconds remaining in the quarter.
“Toughness,” Warren said when asked about the message to her team after the second quarter. “We have to find a way to get stops, and then we have to be more efficient on the offensive end. I thought there were times where we didn’t recognize whether they were in man or zone (defense) and it caused us to be stagnant.”
McDermott led the Panthers with 12 points and was joined in double figures by Green, who finished with 11.
UNI returns to action Sunday at 2 p.m. at McLeod Center (ESPN+) against Indiana State (9-11, 4-7).