Second-half surge lifts UNI women to MVC win

CEDAR FALLS – Backed by a strong second-half performance and another stellar game from their standout senior guard, the Northern Iowa women’s basketball team pummeled the Indiana State Sycamores at the McLeod Center on Thursday night.

Jacqui Kalin hit 9-of-13 from the floor and 8-of-8 from the line and finished with 29 points, five rebounds and four assists and the Panthers outscored ISU by 27 points in the second half during a 75-49 win.

Amber Kirschbaum added 10 points and seven rebounds and former AGWSR prep Jess McDowell scored nine as the Panthers locked up a fourth place finish in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Northern Iowa, who now has three straight wins, made 55 percent of its shots in the game and was 8-of-15 from long range. Kalin hit 3-of-4 from deep and the Panthers also buried 13-of-20 from the line in the win.

The Sycamores (17-11, 9-8) led 27-26 at the break but a 10-1 run by UNI pushed the Panthers ahead 49-34 in the second half. Kalin capped off the run with her third 3-pointer of the game. The lead then grew even bigger at 56-38 following another 3-pointer – this time by Brittni Donaldson.

The Panthers (15-14, 10-7) got 22 points from its bench, led by McDowell’s nine. But UNI also converted Indiana State’s 14 turnovers into 29 points at the other end.

Nathasha Zurek had 13 points off the bench to lead the Sycamores. Racheal Mahan and Taylor Whitley both added 10 as well. The Sycamores made just 29 percent of its shots from the floor and was 21-of-33 from the line.

Northern Iowa returns to action at 2 p.m. Saturday when they face Illinois State on Senior Day at the McLeod Center.