Panthers Advance To WNIT Semifinals
For college basketball teams playing in postseason tournaments, it's all about surviving and advancing.
UNI is moving on in the Women's National Invitation Tournament and, at the same time, making history.
The Panthers rolled to a 58-50 victory over St. Louis in Rockford, Ill., Monday night. With the win, UNI claimed its first WNIT regional championship and advanced to the tournament semifinals.
It wasn't the best game for the Panthers, but coach Tanya Warren's squad did what it had to do to earn the victory.
UNI overcame a poor start, in which the Panthers scored only five points in the first quarter. They made just two of their first 17 shots, while going 1 of 11 from 3-point range.
After trailing 17-16 at halftime, UNI took control of the game midway through the third quarter. Bre Gunnels kickstarted the Panthers' offense with a layup at the 6:01 mark and the Panthers built their lead to 36-28 before the period ended.
UNI's advantage grew to 12, at 36-28, early in the fourth quarter following a pair of three-pointers by Kam Finley. The junior guard from Cedar Falls tallied 14 points to lead the Panthers in scoring.
Gunnels recorded a double-double, recording 10 points and 11 rebounds.
UNI is appearing in the WNIT for the ninth time in program history. The Panthers have never advanced this deep into the tournament. Prior to this season, their best showing was an appearance in the regional championship game in 2016.
Next up for UNI is the WNIT Final Four. The Panthers travel to the Memphis suburb of Collierville, Tenn., where they'll play Mississippi (Ole Miss) in the tournament semifinals on Friday. The game is scheduled to start at 7 PM Iowa time.