DES MOINES — Northern Iowa made a late charge, but league-leading Drake hit shot after shot in the closing minutes to turn back the Panthers 81-64 in a Missouri Valley Conference women’s basketball matchup Friday at the Knapp Center.

It was the 29th consecutive regular-season MVC win for the Bulldogs, who remained unbeaten at 7-0 in the league and are 12-7 overall. UNI fell to 8-10 overall and 4-3 in league play.

Drake led 24-17 after the first quarter, then held the Panthers to seven points in the second quarter while stretching the lead to 40-24 by halftime. The Bulldogs shot 56 percent in the opening half and hit 5 of 9 shots from 3-point range. UNI shot just 29 percent overall, although Panthers did hit 5 of 12 treys and had 10 offensive rebounds.

UNI was unable to make any headway for most of the third quarter, falling behind by as many as 22 points at 56-34 before inching back within 16 points heading into the fourth.

The Panthers chipped away and cut their deficit to 64-57 on a Rose Simon-Ressler steal and 3-pointer with 5 1/2 minutes remaining.UNI was within seven again at 66-59 with 4:22 left when Drake heated up and pulled away again.

Simon-Ressler led UNI with 18 points and Megan Maahs pulled down 15 rebounds, while Becca Hittner topped Drake with 16 points.

Drake 81, UNI 64

NORTHERN IOWA (8-10, 4-3) — Maahs 1-6 2-2 4, Howell 4-13 0-0 10, Simon-Ressler 7-13 0-0 18, Kirkpatrick 2-8 2-2 8, Morgan 3-9 2-4 11, Rucker 0-2 0-0 0, Kroeger 0-2 0-0 0, Garrison-Nickerson 0-0 0-0 0, Hillyard 1-2 2-2 4, Hagen 1-1 1-2 3, Gerrits 2-6 0-0 6. Totals 21-62 9-12 64.

DRAKE (12-7, 7-0) — Rose 3-3 1-2 8, Jonas 4-4 2-2 11, Monahan 2-5 0-0 4, Hittner 4-8 6-6 16, Bachrodt 4-9 1-2 11, Greiner 2-2 0-0 6, Dean 4-9 2-2 12, Fuller 0-1 0-0 0, Miller 3-4 0-0 6, Rhine 1-4 5-5 7. Totals 27-49 17-19 81.

N. Iowa 17 7 19 21 — 64

Drake 24 16 19 22 — 81

3-point goals — UNI 13-34 (Howell 2-6, Simon-Ressler 4-8, Kirkpatrick 2-7, Morgan 3-7, Rucker 0-1, Gerrits 2-5), Drake 10-20 (Rose 1-1, Jonas 1-1, Hittner 2-3, Bachrodt 2-5, Greiner 2-2, Dean 2-5, Fuller 0-1, Miller 0-1, Rhine 0-1). Rebounds — UNI 35 (Maahs 15), Drake 32 (Jonas 5, Bachrodt 5). Assists — UNI 17 (Howell 4), Drake 23 (Jonas 6). Turnovers — UNI 13 (Morgan 4), Drake 11 (Rose 3, Dean 3). Blocks — UNI 1 (Maahs), Drake 1 (Dean). Steals — UNI 5 (Maahs 2), Drake 9 (Bachrodt 3). Total fouls — UNI 17, Drake 11. Fouled out — none. Att. — 3,331.

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