#UNIWBB Road Report – Panthers Win Regular Season Championship

(Photos via Adam DeJoode)

(Photos via Adam DeJoode)

The UNI Panther women’s basketball program has many goals both on and off the court. As the program strives towards one of its mottoes – Building Champions for Life – this year’s team can officially call itself “Missouri Valley Conference champions for life.”

UNI clinched an outright MVC regular season championship this week after road victories at Southern Illinois Thursday (73-64) and at Evansville Saturday (61-48). The Panthers finished the regular season at 20-9 overall and 15-3 in conference play to secure their second-ever regular season title.

Thursday’s battle in Carbondale turned on a go-ahead three-pointer from Madison Weekly in the closing seconds of the first half for a 29-27 lead. Amber Sorenson tallied a career-high 28 points, featuring seven treys of her own, and kept UNI in front for the rest of the game despite a feisty effort from the Salukis on their home court.

An early game of runs Saturday eventually favored UNI in Evansville. Hannah Schonhardt boosted the Panthers to a 23-20 halftime lead after two last-minute buckets, and a 17-3 closing run in the third quarter lifted UNI to the victory and the outright conference crown.

This conference title is the first for everyone on UNI’s playing roster, including fifth-year seniors Sorenson, Stephanie Davison, Jen Keitel and Sharnae Lamar. Those four seniors also received another special gift Saturday. Evansville hosted its Senior Day for Laura Friday and also decided to give all of UNI’s seniors with roses before the contest.

#UNIWBB seniors, will you accept these roses?

#UNIWBB seniors, will you accept these roses?

Here are some interesting stats from the week:

  1. Weekly rolls past 500-point threshold
    Madison Weekly became the seventh different Panther to score 500+ points in a season, pushing her total to 514 to currently rank sixth in a single-season
  2. Sorenson on record pace behind arc
    Amber Sorenson’s 88 treys trails only Jacqui Kalin’s team record (89, 2012-13) and Marc Sonnen (96, 2012-13) and Matt Bohannon (91+, 2015-16) for the school record
  3. Keitel joins another club this week
    Jen Keitel, who became a member of the 1000-Point Club last week, is now the fifth Panther ever to record 100+ blocks in her career, sitting on exactly 100
  4. Road Warriors finish strong in MVC
    UNI’s 8-1 conference road record led the Missouri Valley Conference, adding to a league-high 43 MVC road wins over the last nine seasons – all under Tanya Warren
  5. “Party Like It’s 2011″
    UNI’s eight-game win streak is the longest since the Panthers won 19 straight in 2011 to win their first MVC regular season title and a conference tournament championship

Next up, UNI heads to the 2016 MVC Women’s Basketball Championship at the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois. The Panthers will be the No. 1 seed for the tournament and play Friday at 12pm in the MVC Quarterfinals against the winner of an Opening Round match-up between the Wichita State Shockers and the Bradley Braves.

Listen to the coverage on News/Talk 1540 KXEL, with Friday’s pregame show opening at 11:45am. For more information on the Panthers and the tournament respectively, visit unipanthers.com and MVCQuadCities.com. Thanks for reading, and have a good one! U-N-I Fight! #UNIFight