CEDAR FALLS – Northern Iowa women’s basketball coach Tanya Warren saw her team showcase its ability to adapt on the road last weekend.
The Panthers matched Evansville’s four-guard lineup and shut down the Purple Aces, 74-46, before defeating an Indiana State team that came up just two points shy of handing Drake its first league loss, 71-51.
“I like the progression,” Warren said. “What allows this team to be good is you never know who it’s going to be. We have that kind of depth.
“We’ve had some really good defensive outputs, and this is probably one of our best since I’ve been here. I thought this team was extremely focused and urgent.”
Among the players who stepped up over the weekend was center Taylor Hagen. She scored a career high 18 points on 8 of 10 shooting from the field against Indiana State.
“She was extremely aggressive,” Warren said. “She really found a body when posting up. She took what defense gave her, didn’t force when she was doubled and kicked out. She had a lot of poise and patience.”
Warren felt the tone was set in practice after UNI responded to a home loss against Drake in which the Bulldogs pulled away in the fourth quarter.
“It can’t only happen after you get embarrassed in the fourth quarter, it’s got to happen every single day,” Warren said. “I like their coachability and what they bring on an everyday basis.”
UNI (12-7, 5-2 MVC) will host Southern Illinois (10-8, 3-4) at 7 p.m. Friday before facing Missouri State (11-7, 7-0) at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Missouri State will be coming off a Friday meeting with Drake in which the league’s only two remaining undefeated teams go head-to-head.
WRESTLING: Josh Alber’s milestone weekend was part of the equation for a UNI wrestling team that secured convincing home dual wins over Northern Colorado, 38-6, and Oklahoma, 28-9.
Alber secured his 100 and 101st career victories, with the most recent a 5-4 decision over Oklahoma’s Dom Demas in a top-10 battle. He is the 20th Panther to have at least 100 career victories.
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Paden Moore (157) and Carter Isley (285) each made their return from injury over the weekend. Moore finished 1-1 and Isley won both matches.
As a whole, UNI’s dominance was what coach Doug Schwab and the West Gym crowd wanted to see.
“When you get guys on their backs or have some inspired wrestling, the fans appreciate it,” Schwab said.
Up next is a challenge at No. 4 Oklahoma State in a battle of two teams undefeated in Big 12 duals. The Cowboys have 10 ranked wrestlers compared to six for UNI.
“You’ve got to be willing to take a blow and get one right back,” Schwab said. “They’ve got a heck of a team, but I like our team and I’m excited to see these guys compete. I want to see us raise our level. It’s time to do that.”
TRACK AND FIELD: UNI coach Dave Paulsen liked the progress his team made, in particular in the jumps, as the Panthers hosted the Jack Jennett Open before traveling to their third indoor meet at Iowa City.
UNI’s field event competitors will travel to Nebraska, while the runners compete at Notre Dame on Saturday.
“We’re down the homestretch already,” Paulsen said. “We’ve just got a few weeks left before we host the conference meet here and really see what we’ve got.”
TENNIS: After losing the doubles point in a 4-3 setback to Omaha, UNI’s doubles combinations helped the women’s tennis team set the tone for a 5-2 victory over North Dakota last week. The No. 1 doubles pairing of Reghan Lynch and Claudia Toledo rallied from down 3-0 to win in a tiebreaker.
“It’s always good going into singles with that (doubles) point boosting your confidence,” UNI coach Chris Sagers said. “All six matches we played really well in singles.”
The Panthers host SIU-Edwardsville 11 a.m. Sunday at Black Hawk Tennis Club.