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CEDAR FALLS — To beat defending Missouri Valley Conference champion Drake, the fight has to be for a full four quarters.

Northern Iowa showed a ton of fight and mettle for 30 minutes Friday. But within striking distance heading into the fourth quarter, the Panthers lost their tenacity.

The Bulldogs used a 23-5 run to open the fourth and pulled away for an 88-64 Missouri Valley Conference women’s basketball win at the McLeod Center.

“I don’t think we battled as we had the three previous quarters,” UNI head coach Tanya Warren said.

UNI committed a season-high 26 turnovers and shot 3 of 16 in the final quarter, while Drake made 12 of 14 shots in the final 10 minutes.

Sara Rhine poured in 11 of her game-high 26 points as the Bulldogs snapped the Panthers’ seven-game home court win streak, the longest since the 1980-81 team won its first 10.

“You can’t turn the ball over 26 times against Drake,” Warren added. “Eventually, they are going to exploit you and they did that.”

Drake jumped all over UNI early and led 26-16 after one quarter. That lead stretched to 43-27 before the Panthers finished the first half on an 8-1 run sparked by a Mikaela Morgan 3-pointer that cut UNI’s deficit to 44-35 by halftime.

UNI continued to push its way back into the game in the third quarter as it opened the period on a 6-0 run and the Panthers tied the game, 49-49, on Abby Gerrits’ 3-pointer with 4:14 left in the third. But Drake responded with an 8-0 run, and then the Bulldogs took over in the fourth where they outscored UNI, 29-10.

“I thought we battled, especially defensively,” Warren said of the third quarter. “We got stops. We rebounded the basketball, and then offensively ... we were in attack mode and didn’t turn the basketball over. I really liked what I saw there.”

Drake scored the first five points of the fourth quarter, before UNI’s Karli Rucker hit a 3-pointer with 8:23 to go that cut the Panthers’ deficit to 64-57. But Becca Hittner, who had 19 points, responded with a triple seconds later and UNI never was within 10 again.

“I think in the fourth quarter ... I think we did a real nice job in the first quarter, and I think we did a really nice job in the fourth quarter,” Drake coach Jennie Baranczyk said.

“We had to do a little better job of guarding the ball,” added Baranczyk of the fourth quarter. “I do think we created some of those turnovers. I think we did a nice job of playing team defense, our communication and shifts.”

Howell led UNI with 15 points and six boards. Morgan had 13, while Rucker and Gerrits each had 10.

“We battled for three quarters and then got humiliated in the fourth quarter,” Warren said. “Drake does a very good job of covering some things up. I thought we tried to make great passes instead of making simple plays. A lot of uncharacteristic things from us on the offensive end. I can’t tell you the last time we had 26 turnovers.

“You’re not going to beat anybody, certainly not a team like Drake, with 26 turnovers.”

UNI is next in action next Friday at Evansville.

Drake 88, UNI 64

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

Monahan 21 2-4 0-0 3 1 2 5

Hittner 28 7-17 2-4 2 2 1 19

Dean 27 4-7 2-2 3 3 0 13

Bachrodt 24 1-6 0-0 2 2 2 3

Rhine 27 9-18 6-6 3 1 2 26

Rose 12 2-5 0-0 0 1 4 4

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Wooldridge 8 0-0 0-0 2 0 0 0

Fuller 12 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0

Negaard 2 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 0

Miller 21 3-7 2-3 3 3 1 9

Burich 17 4-5 1-2 9 5 4 9

Mertz 1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Team 3

Totals 200 32-69 13-17 31 18 18 88

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

Rucker 26 3-9 3-4 6 4 3 10

Howell 26 5-9 4-4 6 4 1 15

Gunnels 17 1-3 0-0 2 2 1 2

Morgan 23 5-8 0-0 2 1 1 13

Hagen 19 1-1 2-4 4 0 2 4

Kroeger 14 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 0

Finley 12 1-4 0-0 1 0 0 2

Wolf 19 0-1 2-4 4 1 2 2

Hillyard 25 2-5 2-2 8 1 4 6

Gerrits 19 4-8 0-0 1 2 2 10

Team 1

Totals 200 22-49 13-18 36 15 17 64

Drake 26 18 15 29 — 88

N. Iowa 16 19 19 10 — 64

3-point goals — Drake 11-30 (Monahan 1-3, Hittner 3-7, Dean 3-6, Bachrodt 1-3, Rhine 2-6, Rose 0-2, Miller 1-3). UNI 7-23 (Rucker 1-4, Howell 1-4, Gunnels 0-1, Morgan 3-4, Kroeger 0-1, Finley 0-2, Hillyard 0-1, Gerrits 2-6). Turnovers — Drake 13 (Hittner 3). UNI 26 (Gerrits 6). Steals — Drake 13 (Rhine 5). UNI 2 (Howell, Kroeger).

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