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UNI NOTEBOOK

Warren receives 'selfless' act from national champion head coach

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Tanya Warren isn’t on social media, so she had zero clue what another coach was doing.

UNI’s women’s basketball coach received a package from South Carolina’s head coach Dawn Staley. Automatically, Warren knew this was going to be something special.

Warren was right.

Staley sent a piece of her 2017 national championship net to every African-American head coach in Division I. Warren took a picture of her package through the Panthers team twitter account on Sunday.

“It says how selfless she is,” Warren said during Monday’s media availability. “For her to take the time to do what someone had done for her, says a lot about her. She’s a great coach, but even a better person.”

It was a tradition that Staley continued from the first Black head coach to win a national title in Carolyn Peck, who led Purdue to the promise land in 1999. Peck sent Staley a piece of that net and stressed the continuation of the tradition.

Warren knows the impact Staley has had on women’s hoops throughout the Black community.

“She’s extremely humble, a terrific mentor, terrific teacher of the game,” Warren said. “She does so much outside of the game for so many people. We will continue to do our part to pave it forward.”

On the basketball court, UNI is aiming to have a quick turnaround after its home opening loss to eighth-ranked Iowa. The Panthers travel to face North Dakota State on Wednesday, a rematch from last season.

It was a contest the Bison won 85-68 a season ago. UNI is 6-2 all-time against North Dakota State, a program out of the Summit League.

“We have to do a better job at executing,” Warren said. “They have a terrific point guard who can score in a variety of ways. We have our hands full.”

Panther items

Farley still thinks a playoff spot is possible: UNI head football coach Mark Farley sees an avenue for his group to sneak into an at-large Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoff spot.

That path is less straight than it was three weeks ago.

Back-to-back losses to Illinois State and Missouri State on the road have sent the Panthers to a 5-5 record as they prepare for Saturday’s regular season finale at home against Western Illinois.

“We have to recover from that and see where things stand,” Farley said. “I would guess we’re around that 18-to-20 category right now. What happens on Saturday will make a big difference.”

UNI has beaten three teams ranked inside the FCS top-25. It has lost three times to top-25 opponents. It went toe-to-toe with then-No. 7 Iowa State in the season opener.

Farley believes the only “bad loss” would be to the Redbirds.

“That hurt us the most at the end of the day,” Farley said.

The Leathernecks enter with a 2-8 record, but have had zero problems scoring points this season. Just three times have they been held to under 20 points.

“They’ve given up points, but at the same time, they’re putting up a ton of points,” Farley said. “That’s what is most concerning.”

Literally and figuratively, Razorbacks present big challenge for UNI men: Ben Jacobson scheduled this contest with Arkansas knowing that it was going to provide a test for his Panthers men’s team.

A big one at that.

The 16th-ranked Razorbacks posses a front court nightmare with 6-foot-10 Jaylin Williams and 7-3 center Connor Vanover. No one on UNI is taller than 6-9.

“We won’t see that very often,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson noted that forward Cole Henry will be able to return for Wednesday’s contest. With the return from Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year Bowen Born back from injury, UNI is slowly getting its full team back together.

And at a crucial time against Arkansas.

Still, the rotations will be key to watch for. Jacobson stated he can go small with Noah Carter at the center or he can go big with Carter, Austin Phyfe and another forward to somewhat match the size of the Razorbacks.

“It’ll impact some of our substitutions and some of the rotations for us, trying to figure out where we can find an advantage,” Jacobson said. “We can put a little bigger lineup for us, and we can go the other way if we feel like we’re going to have an advantage that way.”

Schwab appreciative of tournaments, mat time: For UNI wrestling coach Doug Schwab, every time he sees his wrestlers take the mat this season is a cherished moment.

Tournaments are back on the schedule for college wrestling programs after a year away due to COVID-19. True freshmen and wrestlers taking a redshirt are getting that mat time again on a competitive level.

“Guys get to see where they’re at,” Schwab said. “You almost need a little proof. If there are some glaring things happening across the board, we have to take note of that. I enjoy it, I’m having a good a time.”

Four wrestlers who will redshirt this season won titles at last weekend’s Grand View Open. The Panthers will send their entire team to the Daktronics Open held at South Dakota State on Saturday.

Schwab just wants his group to get on the mat and create what they are calling “seven minutes of hell.”

“The things we’ve been spending time on, can they take hold?” Schwab said. “That’s what I want to see. It gets to the time where (they are) a pack of hungry dogs is kind of what I think about and you’re holding them back and they’re pulling.

“That’s where are guys are at right now.”

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