CEDAR FALLS — A strong rebound is often the finishing touch on a defensive possession for a Northern Iowa women’s basketball team that takes pride in making life miserable for opposing scorers.

Embracing the fight for loose balls, UNI recovered from a brief defensive lapse at the end of the third quarter and secured a 63-50 win over Bradley Sunday afternoon in the Panthers’ regular-season home finale.

Mikaela Morgan led UNI (15-12, 11-5) with 16 points on 6 of 11 shooting. She scored six in the fourth quarter, including back-to-back layups that sparked a 12-4 surge after Bradley (12-16, 6-11) tied the score at 42 on Vanessa Markert’s layup to open the fourth quarter.

Coming off a game Friday at undefeated league champion Drake in which the Braves led by as many as seven points late in the third before falling by six, Bradley (12-16, 6-11) once again was tough out of intermission. The visitors recorded nine offensive rebounds and matched their entire first-half scoring output with 20 third-quarter points.

“It was mostly rebounding that brought them back into the game,” Morgan said, after UNI held Bradley to two offensive rebounds in the final stanza. “We had to find the will to want to win the game. It takes some toughness. We were getting the 50-50 balls in the fourth quarter.”

UNI’s offense eventually found success after abandoning perimeter shots for looks inside.

Panther forward Megan Maahs scored seven of her 14 points in the fourth quarter and UNI held a 27-14 advantage in points in the paint to offset a rough 2-for-16 clip from 3-point range.

“I certainly like how we responded and defended extremely well, and then we were able to get Megan going,” UNI coach Tanya Warren said. “We’ve tried to make an emphasis the last couple weeks of being able to score inside-out and getting Megan more touches, moving her around in a variety of ways. I thought we were able to do that this weekend especially.”

Kennedy Kirkpatrick, UNI’s lone senior, also produced some memorable moments in her final home game. The Lawrence, Kan., native who came to Cedar Falls as a graduate transfer from Bowling Green, scored six of her 14 points in the last quarter. Her final McLeod Center field goal was a key pull-up jumper that pushed UNI’s lead to 10 after a lengthy possession with 1:35 remaining.

“I’m really grateful to be able to play for Coach Warren, and all my teammates have been great, from the time I got here,” Kirkpatrick said. “It’s been a blessing, to be completely honest. I’ve really enjoyed my time here at UNI and I couldn’t have pictured this year going any better.”

Warren, who hasn’t brought in many transfers in her 11-year tenure at the school, views Kirkpatrick as a valuable addition helping to lead a youthful team this season.

“I think it’s hard when you come into a program that’s established as a grad transfer,” Warren said. “To get yourself acclimated right away, it takes a very special person to be able to do that and have an impact. She certainly has done that this year.”

UNI 63, Bradley 50

Bradley Mn FG-A FT-A Rb As PF TP

Haack 33 1-7 2-4 3 0 4 5

Dellamuth 17 1-4 0-0 0 2 2 2

Schlueter 12 1-2 0-0 2 0 1 3

Markert 23 6-13 4-4 5 0 3 16

White 28 5-8 0-2 7 1 3 10

Brewer 12 0-2 0-0 2 0 1 0

Adrian 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Brackmann 13 2-6 2-2 3 0 5 6

Clay 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Wilkins 0+ 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0

Burrell 6 0-1 0-0 1 0 0 0

Lawson 6 1-5 2-6 2 2 1 4

Kent 13 1-3 2-4 1 0 4 4

Bozeman 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Team 8

Totals 200 18-52 12-22 38 5 25 50

UNI Mn FG-A FT-A Rb As PF TP

Howell 29 1-6 2-4 2 0 3 4

Simon-Ressler 21 1-8 1-2 7 1 0 3

Kirkpatrick 33 3-10 8-8 3 2 0 14

Morgan 34 6-11 3-4 4 1 1 16

Maahs 33 4-12 6-10 9 1 2 14

Rucker 7 2-3 0-0 0 0 0 4

Kroeger 7 1-2 2-2 0 1 3 5

Hillyard 19 0-1 1-2 6 1 5 1

Hagen 7 1-1 0-0 4 0 1 2

Gerrits 10 0-1 0-0 2 0 1 0

Team 4

Totals 200 19-55 23-32 41 7 16 63

Bradley 14 6 20 10 — 50

N. Iowa 19 9 14 21 — 63

3-point goals—Bradley 2-13 (Haack 1-4, Dellamuth 0-3, Schlueter 1-2, Lawson 0-3, Kent 0-1), UNI 2-16 (Howell 0-2, Simon-Ressler 0-3, Kirkpatrick 0-4, Morgan 1-4, Kroeger 1-2). Blocks—Bradley 1 (Markert), UNI 2 (Maahs 2). Turnovers—Bradley 13 (Schlueter 3), UNI 6 (six at 1). Steals—Bradley 3 (three at 1), UNI 8 (Kirkpatrick 3).

Officials — Small, Marshall, Blank. Att.—1,166.

Outbrain