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UNI advances in WNIT with efficient 88-76 win over Colorado State
Panthers play Nebraska in second round
CEDAR FALLS — Northern Iowa ran past Colorado State, 88-76, in a first-round WNIT game Thursday night at McLeod Center.
An up-tempo game provoked an efficient evening from UNI’s offense, including a 54-percent mark from the field (27-50) and 12 made 3-pointers on 23 attempts (52%).
Grace Boffeli got the Panthers (23-9) started, routinely overwhelming the Rams (20-12) interior defense en route to nine first-quarter points.
Leading 33-28 in the second quarter, UNI’s offense quickened the game’s pace and outscored Colorado State 23-9 in the last 7:11 of the half.
Emerson Green scored seven of her 17 points during the outburst, while Maya McDermott sank back-to-back 3s and Kam Finley added five points to the run with a step-through layup and left-wing 3 in the last 1:37 of the half.
“Loved it. Loved it,” UNI coach Tanya Warren said of her team’s offense. “We haven’t seen a team like (Colorado State) in terms of their five-out motion (offense). So we had to mix up some things defensively. But I thought for the most part, on both ends of the floor, we played extremely well and I was a little worried coming in. I’m not going to lie, but I thought our kids did a terrific job being game ready.”
Playing without Mountain West Conference Player of the Year McKenna Hofschild (lower body), Colorado State trimmed UNI’s lead to 12 late in the third quarter and to 10 with 2:05 left in the game.
“They’re still really good,” Warren said. “(Destiny) Thurman is really, really good. We still had to make sure we tried to defend the (dribble), defend without fouling and limit their 3s. “So our mindset didn’t change in terms of what we wanted to do defensively.”
Shortly after a called timeout by Warren, McDermott broke the Rams’ full-court press for a layup and added a free throw for a 3-point play, pushing the lead to 13 with just over a minute remaining.
Four Panthers finished in double figures, led by 21 from McDermott, 19 from Finley and 16 from Boffeli.
Thurman led the Rams with a game-high 23 points. Marta Leimane added 17, including 13 in the second half.
UNI faces Nebraska (17-14) in the WNIT second round. A date and time of the game is yet to be announced, however it will take place between Saturday and Tuesday.
“Coach Warren said something at the beginning of the game that really kind of stuck out to me,” McDermott said. “Going into this, play like it’s the last time you’re playing on this floor — for the seniors. And I think this is really good momentum going into Nebraska.”