CEDAR FALLS — The University of Northern Iowa wrestling schedule says the Panthers are off for the next 12 days before their next competition.
UNI head coach Doug Schwab told his team to bring their hardhats to the practice room because the work the Panthers need to finish before the Big 12 Conference tournament March 7-8 is far from finished.
Fresh off a 25-13 win at Oklahoma, UNI’s fifth straight dual win, Schwab said he likes how his team finished the month of January and began its drive down the home stretch.
“We will hit a small cycle and then have a couple of days off and then get right back into our regular routine next week,” Schwab said. “If you want to win a national title you have to be ready for three days. One day is not enough. Two days is not enough. So, we are going to have a tough three days and then some time off. I’m glad we’ve got this week.
“January was really important with how we came out of it. There are some things we talked about doing, some things at least in my head on how I wanted us going into February and we are in that place. I’ll give our guys a lot of credit because how January started wasn’t great.”
UNI’s last home dual is Feb. 14 against West Virginia where seniors Paden Moore, Isaiah Patton, Jay Schwarm, Taylor Lujan and Bryce Steiert will appear in the Panther gold and purple at the West Gym for the last time.
“There is no better place to spend Valentine’s night than the West Gym,” Schwab said. ”You can get nice and snuggly and close to one another. So, we’d love to have a large group to send these seniors out the right way.
“This group has done a whole lot to move our program forward and obviously that is not finished and never will be finished. But they’ve done an incredible job of moving our program forward and to new heights.”
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: In a sweep of Loyola and Valparaiso this weekend at home, head coach Tanya Warren said her team played stretches of very good basketball.
“I talk to you guys a lot about the execution piece and eliminating empty possessions, and I thought we did a very good job of that,” Warren said.
UNI turns its attention to another big home weekend beginning with 24th-ranked Missouri State Friday and featuring Southern Illinois Sunday for the annual Pink Game.
Warren and Salukis head coach Cindy Stein will donate $25 for every 3-pointer made by their respective teams to the Cedar Valley’s Beyond Pink breast cancer organization.
“A, yes we have Missouri State coming in who is now back in first place after beating Bradley over the weekend,” Warren said. “They are a very, very good team. They have great experience and can score in a variety of ways.
“It is also our homecoming weekend. We are excited to bring people back who have been an extremely important part of this program past, present and future, and then on Sunday, it is a great event.”
WOMEN’S SWIMMING: After testing themselves against Iowa State and North Texas, UNI swimmers and divers head into a training period before the Missouri Valley Conference championships Feb. 19-22 in Columbia, Mo.
“We feel like with the 14 freshmen we have they have had an opportunity to race four Big Ten teams, a Big 12 team and a North Texas team that is really strong and it should give them a little confidence, but also understand at this level what it takes to get ready for conference,” said Panther head coach Nick Lakin.
WOMEN’S TENNIS: UNI suffered 7-0 losses to Minnesota and North Dakota in Minneapolis this weekend where head coach Chris Sagers said the team learned some tough lessons.
“Our fight was there. Our determination was there. We just have to be better,” Sagers said. “I know we have a young team, but we have a lot of talent and I’ve got to do a better job of making sure they are prepared. And I’ve got to do a better job of getting everything out of them.”
Photos: Northern Iowa Vs. Valparaiso