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VALPARAISO, Ind. — Northern Iowa overcame its offensive struggles with defense and rebounding to defeat Valparaiso 64-56 in a Missouri Valley Conference women’s basketball game Sunday.

The Panthers (15-8, 8-3) shot just 40 percent for the game, including 32 percent in the first half and were 6 of 27 from 3-point range while giving away 19 turnovers. They offset that with a 44-31 rebounding advantage, five blocked shots and an overall defensive effort that limited the Crusaders (6-17, 2-9) to 32.8 percent shooting for the game.

UNI led 23-21 at halftime and pulled out to its largest lead of 11 points midway through the fourth quarter.

Bre Gunnels had a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Panthers while Karli Rucker finished with 14 points and Nicole Kroeger 11.

UNI 64, Valparaiso 56

NORTHERN IOWA (15-8, 8-3) — Rucker 4-12 6-9 14, Kroeger 5-12 0-0 11, Gunnels 3-4 3-4 11, Morgan 3-6 0-0 6, Hagen 1-2 0-0 2, Iverson 1-2 0-0 2, Wolf 1-4 0-0 2, Hillyard 3-6 0-0 8, Gerrits 1-7 5-8 8. Totals 22-55 14-21 64.

VALPARAISO (6-17, 2-9) — Hamlet 7-16 2-3 17, Frederick 1-11 3-3 5, Stoller 3-10 5-8 11, Ellenson 1-3 0-0 2, Hales 3-8 4-4 11, Meredith 0-1 0-0 0, Pitts 0-1 0-0 0, Schofield 4-8 0-0 10. Totals 19-58 14-18 56.

N. Iowa 9 14 18 23 — 64

Valparaiso 9 12 12 23 — 56

3-point goals — UNI 6-27 (Rucker 0-3, Kroeger 1-8, Gunnels 2-3, Morgan 0-2, Iverson 0-1, Wolf 0-2, Hillyard 2-2, Gerrits 1-6), Valparaiso 4-19 (Hamlet 1-3, Frederick 0-4, Stoller 0-3, Ellenson 0-1, Hales 1-2 Meredith 0-1, Schofield 2-5). Rebounds — UNI 44 (Gunnels 10), Valparaiso 31 (Stoller 7). Assists — UNI 12 (Morgan 5), Valparaiso 6 (Frederick 2). Turnovers — UNI 19 (Gunnels 4, Morgan 4), Valparaiso 14 (Stoller 4). Blocks — UNI 5 (Wolf 2), Valparaiso 2 (Hamlet 1, Schofield 1). Steals — UNI 6 (Rucker 3), Valparaiso 10 (Hamlet 3). Total fouls — UNI 16, Valparaiso 20. Fouled out — Stoller. Att. — 576.

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