Panthers put Purple Aces away with their defense

CEDAR FALLS – Keeping Sara Dickey and the Evansville offense in check, the Northern Iowa women’s basketball team led wire-to-wire Friday for a 64-56 victory over the Purple Aces at the McLeod Center.

Stephanie Davison reached double figures for the second game in a row with 15 points as the Panthers (6-8, 2-1) limited Evansville to it lowest first-half point total of the season (19) to post their second straight Missouri Valley Conference win. Brittni Donaldson added 12 points and Brooke Brown hauled in a career-best 13 rebounds while UNI limited Dickey – the Purple Aces’ leading scorer at 18.8 points per game – to five points on 1-of-8 shooting.

Ahead 27-19 at the break, the Panthers led by as many as 18 midway through the second half before Evansville whittled the lead to eight in the final two minutes. Hannah Schonhardt and Brown made four free throws late to seal the win.

Kat Taylor led Evansville (6-8, 1-2) with 14 points and Dakota Weatherford chipped in nine. Mallory Lad registered seven points and nine boards as the Purple Aces shot just 23 percent in the first half and 32 percent overall.

UNI shot less than 36 percent from the field but overcame it with an 18-of-20 performance at the free throw line. Evansville made 12-of-18 at the stripe. The Panthers turned it over 18 times but earned a 46-37 advantage on the boards.

The Panthers remain home to host Southern Illinois Sunday at 2 p.m.