CEDAR FALLS — Northern Iowa women’s basketball coach Tanya Warren held the team’s annual media day earlier this week.
Here’s everything else we learned from the 14th-year Panthers head coach.
UNI coach’s messaging
Warren believes her team is behind schedule, but acknowledged their peers, too, due to the uncertain circumstances COVID-19 has and continues to present this season.
“We talk a lot about abilities,” Warren said. “Accountability, flexibility, responsibility, adaptability and coachability. These are all things that we can control one day at a time. Those are things we talk about pretty much on an everyday basis.”
Don’t forget the sophomores and juniors
The Panthers’ four seniors and six freshmen have been the topic leading up to the season. However, sophomores Cailyn Morgan and Kiana Barney, along with juniors Cam Finley and Cynthia Wolf, are each well-positioned to earn playing time.
“Cynthia Wolf, she’s taken her game to a different level. Shooting the 3 extremely well and finishing well around the rim,” Warren said. “Cailyn Morgan has done a terrific job. We’re expecting her to play good minutes for us. Redshirt freshman Sara McCullough has really improved. Kiana Barney will also compete for some playing time at the four.”
6 freshmen from iowa
The Panthers’ class of six freshmen — Warren calls it the best class she’s ever signed on paper — are all Iowans. Point guard Maya McDermott is from Johnston. Guards Emerson Green and Kayba Laube are from Cedar Falls and Marion, respectively. Forwards Maya Gyamfi and Grace Bofelli are from Urbandale and Eldridge (North Scott), and center Taryn Scheuermann is from Keosauqua (Van Buren County).
“(McDermott) is very crafty and shoots the basketball extremely well,” Warren said. “Emerson Green is extremely talented, very versatile. Kayba Laube is a long-range, very efficient 3-point shooter. Maya Gyamfi is a very versatile, four, five. (Bofelli), you talk about never taking a possession off, (she’s) just terrific in terms of her ability to get you extra (possessions). Taryn Scheuermann is a (good) freshman post.”
Ahead of UNI in the MVC’s preseason poll was top pick Missouri State, which received 33 first-place votes. Bradley also came in ahead of the Panthers with a second-place pick and seven first-place votes. Just behind No. 3 UNI were Drake, Illinois State, Southern Illinois and Valparaiso.
“When you look at the league, the league is going to be every bit as good as it was a year ago,” Warren said. “If something doesn’t go the way we want in the conference tournament, we’ve put ourselves in position to be in the conversation for an at-large bid.”