Drake drains late 3 to beat UNI

CEDAR FALLS – Every time Northern Iowa tried to deliver the knockout punch, the Drake women’s basketball team had the answer.

Carly Grenfell scored her only points of the game in the form of a 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining, and the Bulldogs withstood UNI’s buzzer-beater attempt for a 66-64 victory in a Missouri Valley Conference showdown Sunday at the McLeod Center.

Northern Iowa (10-10, 6-3) twice led by as many as eight points, including a 57-49 lead with 8:14 remaining. Drake erased it immediately with an 11-3 run, sparked by 3-pointers from Kyndal Clark (two) and Caitlin Ingle for the ninth – and final – tie of the game.

After Jen Keitel’s short jumper gave the Panthers a 62-60 lead, neither team scored for the next 3:52. It was finally Keitel again, putting back an offensive rebound as the potential dagger for a four-point Panther advantage with just 44 seconds to go. Fouled on the play, Keitel could not convert a critical three-point play when she missed a free throw.

And Drake (9-11, 3-6), as it had done all game, took advantage.

Clark cashed in her fourth triple of the game to get the Bulldogs within one, and Drake sent Brooke Brown to the free-throw line with 22 seconds still showing. Brown missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Lizzy Wendell’s rebound gave the Bulldogs one last chance. Grenfell, who was 0-for-5 from 3-point range to that point, swished the go-ahead basket.

But Northern Iowa, which never trailed by more than two points the entire game, got one last look at the basket. Brittni Donaldson’s buzzer-beater was off the mark, however, and the Panthers were stunned at home by their in-state rivals.

“I was 0-for-5 but all my teammates kept telling me to keep shooting, keep shooting, keep your head up,” said Grenfell, a junior. “Honestly that was huge for me. I was in a rhythm and it was a perfect pass from Kyndal at the top of the key and it went in.”

Wendell’s double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds led the Bulldogs, who won their second straight after snapping a four-game losing skid last Sunday against Bradley. Clark finished with 18 points, four assists and four steals, while Ingle added 17 points and seven boards.

Grenfell’s 3-pointer were the only points to come from Drake’s bench.

“It was a big shot that Carly made,” said Drake coach Jennie Baranczyk. “We had a set, we had a look and we made the extra pass to the open person. It was not an easy shot, she was pretty deep on it.

“They stepped up and made some big plays today, especially on the previous play with Carly’s rebound.”

Clark’s final 3-pointer, with 26 seconds left, was a second-chance bucket brought on by Grenfell’s offensive rebound off a Clark miss.

The Bulldogs scored 17 points off 16 Northern Iowa turnovers, while the Panthers went 5-for-11 at the free-throw line.

UNI dominated on the glass, outrebounding the Bulldogs 50-35, but could only turn 16 offensive boards into 12 points.

Hannah Schonhardt, Stephanie Davison and Keitel each recorded double-doubles while Brown shared team-high honors with 14 points. Schonhardt had 11 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, Keitel had 14 points and 10 boards, and Davison had 10 points and 11 boards.

The two teams combined to attempt 72 3-pointers and 57 2-pointers.

The Panthers, who saw a three-game win streak halted, go on the road this weekend with games Thursday at Southern Illinois and Sunday at Evansville.

Drake rounds out a three-game road trip against the same teams, going to Evansville on Thursday and Southern Illinois on Sunday.