CEDAR FALLS — Tanya Warren had hoped for a better result in her Northern Iowa women’s basketball opener Friday than a 54-48 loss to IUPUI at the McLeod Center.

But her team looked and played like the team she knows she has.

“We played like a young, inexperienced team on the offensive end,” Warren said. “We really battled on the defensive end and rebounded.

“Hopefully we will continue to learn. We had a good film session yesterday and came back and had a good practice today. That is what you are going to see from this team throughout the year. There are going to be growth moments like we are going through right now.”

UNI doesn’t have much more time to digest its season opener as the Panthers host Iowa State (1-0) tonight at 7:05 p.m.

“Iowa State is very good. They are big and shoot the 3 very well,” Warren said. “We are going to have to be gritty on the defensive end, chase them off the 3-point line.

“Then ... what I’m looking for, is how much better can we be on the offensive end and still continue to defend the correct way.”

WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY: The Panther women produced the best finish in program history Saturday at the Midwest Regional in Ames to cap a tremendous season and the tremendous careers of seniors Brette Correy and Ashley Norem. Two years ago, UNI finished seventh in the Missouri Valley tournament only to capture the title last year, finish second this year, then beat seven teams from Power-5 conferences at the regional meet.

The effort left head coach Dave Paulsen amazed.

“A lot of times we get looked at like we’re just part of it and not a player, so for us to finish in front of those programs is a testament to these girls and what they have done over the last four years,” said Paulsen.

“Thrilled where we are from where we were at as a program a couple of years ago.”

VOLLEYBALL: UNI split a pair of weekend matches, losing to Valley regular-season champion Missouri State on Saturday before rebounding and securing the second seed in the MVC tournament with a win over Southern Illinois on Sunday.

“I would say in the last month, the entire weekend was possibly some of the best volleyball we have played,” head coach Bobbi Petersen said.

UNI closes its regular season Saturday at Drake.

WRESTLING: Head coach Doug Schwab spent the first few minutes of his press conference Monday offering his condolences to the family of Evie Mae Mueller.

Each year, UNI holds a “Panther Train Pins Cancer Clinic” with all proceeds going to benefit an individual battling cancer. Mueller, age four, lost her battle with heptablastoma, a rare form of liver cancer, over the weekend.

“Thoughts and sympathies go to her family,” Schwab said. “I think we are all impacted by this disease. My mom, Susan, was just diagnosed with lung cancer and bone cancer.

“I want to thank anybody who has reached out to her. Her spirit is strong, so strong, and it is because of those who reached out.”

UNI will conduct the clinic prior to its first home match of the year and Big 12 debut against North Dakota State inside the West Gym at 2 p.m. For more information on the clinic, contact Brett Robbins at richardr@uni.edu

Before the Panthers host the Bison, UNI will travel to Cornell to face the Big Red Friday, who are coached by Rob Koll, the son of Panther Hall of Famer Bill Koll.

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for The Courier

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