WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The final 11 minutes of action belonged to Northern Iowa to push the Panthers past Wichita State in its season opener, 61-50, Saturday evening in Charles Koch Arena.
Wichita State (0-1) finished the game just 1-of-12 from three-point range and shot only 30 percent overall. Despite forcing 27 UNI turnovers and holding the Panthers to just 5-of-22 from beyond the arc, WSU lost the rebound battle by 12 and struggled at the free throw line (13-of-24).
Trajata Colbert tied a career high with 12 points to go with five rebounds and Maya Brewer added 11, one shy of her career best. Seraphine Bastin added nine points before fouling out and Raven Prince pulled down six boards to lead the Shockers.
Karli Rucker led all scorers with 18 points, while Megan Maahs and Kam Finley each tallied 11 apiece. UNI struggled from three, but made up for it at the free throw line, going 18-of-20.
Bastin and Brewer combined to score nine of the first 11 points to give the Shockers an early 11-8 lead. Brewer would add another score after a Colbert baseline jumper to finish the scoring in the opening quarter.
After the first 10 minutes it was all square at 15 and only three Shockers were in the scoring column, led by Brewer’s six points.
Wichita State’s defense kept the Panthers off the board for the first four minutes of the second quarter, but the Shockers only tallied three points of their own during that stretch. With playing nearing the half, WSU scored six straight to take a 26-21 lead.
Shyia Smith’s layup with 35 seconds remaining sent WSU into the break with a 28-24 lead. The Shockers forced UNI into 13 turnovers and only 29 percent shooting over the first 20 minutes. Brewer (7) and Colbert (6) led the offensive attack, while UNI’s Megan Maahs led all scorers with nine points.
Out of the locker room, Wichita State took a seven-point lead, it’s largest of the game, but a UNI three-pointer cut it right back to four with 4:30 to go in the third. UNI whittled its way back to eventually regain the lead in the final minute of the period.
A UNI 6-0 run to end the frame gave the Panthers a 42-39 lead with playing moving to the fourth.
A pair of Carla Bremaud free throws started the final period, but UNI would score the next seven points to extend its lead to 49-41 with 5:30 remaining.
Bastin’s coast-to-coast steal and score snapped the UNI run, but the Panthers immediately answered with consecutive scores to go up 53-43 and 3:20 left in the game.
Wichita State hits the road for the first time this season with a trip south to Tulsa to face Oral Roberts Monday night at 7 p.m.
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