UNI’s Season Ends With WNIT Setback, 51-50
UNI forward Amber Sorenson missed an off-balance 3-pointer as time expired, giving South Dakota a 51-50 home court win over the Panthers in the Sweet 16 round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) Thursday night (March 24, 2016).
The game featured 14 lead changes and three ties, including a 37-all deadlock at the end of the third quarter. The Coyotes (29-6) outscored UNI, 14-13, in the fourth quarter to advance to the WNIT quarterfinals. The Panthers (24-11) end their season with the second-most wins in school history.
South Dakota took the lead for the final time with a jumper by senior guard Tia Hemiller with 3:19 remaining. Both senior guard Kelly Stewart and senior center Margaret McCloud made a free throw to increase the Coyotes' lead to 51-48 with under a minute to play.
Following McCloud's charity shot, UNI advanced the ball and called a timeout. When play resumed, Stephanie Davison made a jumper in the paint for the Panthers to close the gap to one, at 51-50, with 42 seconds left.
The Coyotes missed a chance to extend the lead to three with nine seconds left. UNI rebounded, but was unable to convert on the last attempt.
Senior forward Jen Keitel scored a game-high 19 points and pulled down six rebounds to lead UNI, while going 9-of-14 from the field. Davison added 13 points and guard Madison Weekly had nine.
Nicole Seekamp tallied 16 points for the Coyotes and was the only South Dakota player to score in double figures. The Renmark, South Australia, native became the Summit League's all-time assists leader Thursday with 605 for her career. She also grabbed her 500th rebound in the game.
UNI owned a 19-18 lead going into the second quarter following a long jumper by Keitel with 28 seconds left in the first. Earlier, the Panthers used a 7-0 run to build a 11-5 lead.
Both teams struggled to start the second quarter. Neither team scored in the first three minutes and tallied only 14 points combined in the period. UNI owned a 27-24 advantage at halftime.
The Panthers jumped out to a five-point lead to start the third quarter after Weekly was fouled hard on a made layup and converted on the three-point play. South Dakota wasted no time in cutting the score to one, getting four unanswered points to cut UNI's lead to 30-29 at the 7:00 mark.
After both teams were held without a field goal for four minutes, the Coyotes took a two-point lead with 27 seconds left. Then, Keitel came up with a huge put-back basket for UNI to tie the score 37-37 at the third quarter buzzer.
Keitel's rebound shot set the stage for an intense fourth quarter. South Dakota's stingy defense held the Panthers to just one field goal in the final four minutes of the game -- Davison's jumper which resulted in the final score.