CEDAR FALLS — Saturday night’s dual win over Iowa State made an impression on University of Northern Iowa wrestling head coach Doug Schwab.
Not only did the Panthers’ leader like what he saw on the mat, he was ecstatic about what he saw in the stands where a packed house helped create an atmosphere loaded with positive energy.
“It makes it an atmosphere that’s second to none,” Schwab said Monday during UNI’s weekly coaches’ press conference. “We’ll need that same type of atmosophere and energy this Saturday, for sure. Missouri’s a good team.”
That meet begins at 2 p.m. in the West Gym. The fourth-ranked Tigers are unbeaten in duals and will bring a lineup to Cedar Falls loaded with wrestlers ranked among the top 10 nationally.
Against Iowa State, UNI (6-4, 3-2) won several close matches that contributed to the 31-7 victory. Five Panthers won by two points or less.
“When we get to Missouri or we get to the Big 12 tournament or we get to the national tournament, you’re going to have to win those nip and tuck, hard-fought battles,” said Schwab. “That atmosphere, too, where you kind of have that energy, our guys got to feel that.
“I thought we stayed on the offense. We continued to stay aggressive and attacking, trying to close out periods which is absolutely critical.
“They were tight matches, but you’ve got to win those tight matches.”
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: UNI put together one of its most efficient and effective offensive performances Sunday during an 85-60 road win at Evansville that featured 22 assists and just three turnovers.
That’s exactly what head coach Tanya Warren had in mind as her Panthers head into Friday’s 7 p.m. matchup against Missouri Valley Conference-leading Drake at the McLeod Center.
“We play a very, very good Drake team this week,” said Warren. “Drake is as good as I’ve seen. They remind me a lot of the (Golden State) Warriors in how they share the basketball, they remind me a lot of the Purdue men in how they move offensively ... and then they remind me of the UConn women in how efficient they are.
“As much as you want to think it’s defensive, it really isn’t. You have to be able to score against Drake and with Drake.”
The Bulldogs defeated UNI 81-64 Jan. 19 in Des Moines. Scoring droughts were costly for the Panthers.
“They’re going to score,” said Warren. “You have to be able to knock down shots. You have to be able to play inside-out.”
WOMEN’S SWIMMING: The Panthers host the Missouri Valley Conference meet Wednesday through Saturday at the University of Iowa Natatorium.
With freturning first-team all-conference performers Molly Lembezeder, Crystal Florman, Hannah Brummel and Katie Taylor and five relays seeded among the top three for the conference meet, UNI is looking to move up in the team standings.
“We’ve never finished any higher in the conference than third, so obviously that’s our No. 1 goal,” said head coach Nick Lakin, who said Missouri State is a clear favorite. “We feel pretty good.”
TRACK AND FIELD: Throwers Sarah Pate and Isaac Holtz topped a long list of standout performances as UNI competed at South Dakota State and Iowa State over the weekend.
Pate’s weight throw of 60 feet-plus and Holtz’s shotput of just under 60 feet puts both in the Panthers’ all-time top three in those events.
UNI heads to Wisconsin for one last tune-up this weekend before hosting the MVC Indoor Championships in the UNI-Dome Feb. 25-24.
SOFTBALL: UNI won four of its five games in the UNI-Dome Classic Friday through Sunday. It was a weekend the tested head coach Ryan Jacobs’ team in several areas.
“Overall, a good weekend,” said Jacobs. “Pitching was very good. Offensively, a couple of kids stepped up this year so far. From a defensive standpoint, I’m very happy with where we’re at.”
The Panthers head to Florida this week for a three-day tournament in Orlando that includes Central Florida, Quinnipiac, Kennesaw State, Stetson, Bethune-Cookman and George Washington.
WOMEN’S TENNIS: The Panthers (2-2) pulled out a 4-3 win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee Saturday when Claudia Toledo rallied to win her singles match in three sets.
UNI plays at Nebraska-Omaha Friday and at Creighton Saturday.