Brown’s career day leads Panthers around Bradley

PEORIA, Ill. – Brooke Brown’s 3-pointer with four and a half minutes remaining chased away Bradley’s comeback attempt as the Northern Iowa women’s basketball team took down the host Braves 81-77 in Missouri Valley Conference action Sunday.

Northern Iowa (15-11, 11-4) saw a lead of as many as 15 points during the first half, but the Braves used an 11-2 run to get back within one for the first time since the early stages. Brown, who scored a career-high 20 points, came up with her biggest bucket to put the Panthers back up by four with 4:29 to go.

Amber Sorenson’s third triple of the game put the Panthers up five with less than three minutes to go, 67-62, yet Bradley (6-19, 3-11) rallied back to get within one again. Brittni Donaldson’s 3-pointer made it a two-possession game again, and free throws by Jen Keitel and Brown helped Northern Iowa seal its fourth consecutive win.

Brown shot 7-of-13 from the field on her way to a game-high 20 points while adding six assists. Keitel had a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Hannah Schonhardt added 10 points and eight boards. Both Donaldson and Sorenson finished with nine points.

Catie O’Leary led the Braves with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Aly Spinas-Valainis, a Davenport Assumption graduate, matched her career-high with 16 points off the bench, and Kelsey Budd finished with 15.

Muscatine native Leti Lerma added a season-high 11 points for Bradley, which lost for the fourth time in its last five.

Northern Iowa goes on the road in a week to try and avenge a two-point loss to Drake when the Bulldogs host their in-state rivals at 2:05 p.m. at the Knapp Center in Des Moines.