Panther women open three-game homestand - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Panther women open three-game homestand


CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) - The University of Northern Iowa women's basketball team will open a three-game home stand when it hosts Evansville and Southern Illinois on Friday and Sunday. Both games will be broadcast on KWLO 1330 AM.


The University of Northern Iowa women's basketball team will host Evansville and Southern Illinois in Missouri Valley Conference action on Friday and Sunday in the McLeod Center.

The Panthers are returning to the McLeod Center after earning a split on their first Missouri Valley Conference road trip of the season. UNI topped Missouri State 65-62 on Jan. 2, but then fell at Wichita State 64-53 on Jan. 4.

Junior Nicole Clausen is leading UNI with 12.0 points per game, and freshman K.K. Armstrong is adding 10.7 points per contest. Junior forward Kim Wypiszynski is averaging 9.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

The Purple Aces and Salukis faced each other in the opening weekend of Valley play, with Evansville coming out on top, 70-65.

Evansville enters the weekend with an 8-4 overall mark and a 1-0 MVC record. The Aces have won their last two games, winning at UW-Milwaukee 62-61 in overtime before earning the home victory over the Salukis.

SIU enters the weekend at 4-6 and 0-1 in league play after dropping its last two contests. Before losing at Evansville, SIU lost 67-55 to Northern Illinois on Dec. 28. The Salukis are slated to play at Bradley on Friday before coming to the McLeod Center.


This is the 33rd meeting between UNI and Evansville, and Evansville leads the all-time series, 18-14. The Purple Aces have had the upper hand recently, winning the last six meetings. In fact, no one on the Panther roster has played in a UNI win over the Aces. UE completed series sweeps over the Panthers and knocked UNI out of the MVC tournament in each of the last two seasons. While Evansville has won the last six meetings, most of them have come down to the wire. One game was decided by just one point, two more have been decided by two points, and a fourth game was won by the Purple Aces by just five points. In 2007-08, Evansville claimed a 57-52 win over UNI on Feb. 2 in the McLeod Center, a 57-55 victory on Feb. 28 in Evansville, and a 79-56 win over UNI in the quarterfinals of the MVC Tournament on March 14.


The Purple Aces are 8-4 on the season and 1-0 in MVC play after topping Southern Illinois 70-65 on Jan. 2. Robyn Jennings is leading Evansville with 13.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Jennings is one of four Aces averaging 10 or more points per game, including Amy Gallagher (12.7), Ashley Austin (11.2) and Shannon Novosel (10.4). Evansville is scoring 65.9 points per game, while allowing 65.2 points per contest.


SIU leads the overall series with UNI, 29-20, but the Panthers have won 19 of the last 22 contests, including a pair of wins over the Salukis last season. Last year, UNI topped the Salukis 64-52 on Jan. 31 in the McLeod Center and on March 1 in Carbondale, 74-69.


The Salukis are 4-6 on the year after dropping their last two games, 67-55 to Northern Illinois and 70-65 at Evansville. The Salukis have been led by Erika Smith, Jasmine Gibson and Katrina Swingler. One of those three has been SIU's leading scorer in nine of their 10 games so far this season. Smith leads the way with 14.1 points per game, and Gibson is scoring 13.9. Swingler averages 11.6 points per contest. Gibson leads the way with 7.1 rebounds per game. The Salukis average 66 points per game, while allowing 71.9.


If the transitive property applies to basketball, the game between UNI and SIU will be a close one. The only common opponent between UNI and SIU has been Northern Illinois. The Huskies beat both teams by 12 points, topping the Panthers 58-46 in the McLeod Center on Dec. 3, and beating SIU 67-55 in Carbondale on Dec. 28.


Junior Kim Wypiszynski has reached double figure scoring in each of UNI's last six games. She leads UNI with 12.3 points per game over that span. Included in that span is a career-high 18-point performance against South Dakota State on Dec. 29.


The Panthers have used 11 different players in the starting lineup and have used six different lineups through their first 10 games. Only Nicole Clausen and Alexa Mennen have started every game for UNI this season.


The Panthers are 0-7 in games where they have failed to score 60 points this season, but UNI is 3-2 when they have reached that mark. This is not a new trend for UNI. The Panthers were 1-12 in games where they did not score 60 points in 2007-08, but they were 12-6 in contests where they broke that barrier.


The Panthers have shown a split personality on offense so far this season. The Panthers showed their bad side when they combined to shoot 28.7 percent against Northern Illinois, Green Bay, Iowa and Colorado State. UNI turned around and showed its good side against South Dakota State and Missouri State, shooting 48.7 percent in those games. The bad side showed its face again, however, when UNI shot just 24 percent from the floor at Wichita State.


UNI center Lizzie Boeck is proving to be one of the Panthers' most consistent three-point shooters this season. The sophomore is 8-of-16 (50 percent) from three-point range, already doubling her three-point total from a year ago.


The Panthers have moved K.K. Armstrong from the starting line-up to the team's sixth player over the last three games, and she has quickly adapted to the role. The true freshman is shooting 44.8 percent from the floor in those games, and leading UNI with 14.7 points per game in that span. She is also averaging 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in that stretch.


The match-up between UNI and Evansville is nothing new for Courtney Felke, who played four years for the Aces. This year, however, she's trading in the Purple and Orange for Purple and Old Gold as she serves in her first season as the Panthers' graduate assistant coach.


The Tanya Warren show will begin on Monday, January 12 at 6 p.m. on KWLO 1330 AM. The show is hosted by Brad Wells and will air every Monday.


The Panthers were held without a three-point basket in their loss to Northern Illinois on Dec. 3. It was the first time UNI did not connect from long range since posting a zero against Butler on Nov. 27, 1999.


Nicole Clausen was tabbed to the Nugget Classic All-Tournament team after averaging 14.5 points against Nevada and Alabama. The junior was 9-of-20 from three-point range in the tournament, including a 6-of-11 effort against the host Wolf Pack.


Erin Brocka made her season debut for the Panthers on Dec. 3. The sophomore forward missed UNI's first five game while recovering from broken bones in both feet. Brocka found her way into the starting lineup on Dec. 6. Danielle Wubbens made her way back to the floor on Dec. 11 after missing five games with a broken bone in her hand. Rachel Madrigal, who sat out most of the 2007-08 season and the first eight games of this season with two separate knee injuries, saw action for the first time this season at Colorado State.


The year's final month has not been kind to UNI over the past two seasons. UNI is 0-10 in December in that span. This season UNI finished 0-5 in December after finishing with the same mark in 2007-08.


When Northern Illinois held the Panthers' leading scorer without any points on Dec. 3, it put a rare zero in the box score beside Nicole Clausen's name. Prior to that game, the junior had scored in 50 straight contests for UNI The last time Clausen didn't score for UNI came against Southern Illinois on Jan. 13, 2007.


With 2.7 threes per game, Nicole Clausen entered the week ranked No. 24 in the nation in that category. She also ranked 30th in the nation in three-point percentage, connecting on 42.7 percent of her tries from long range. Clausen is 32-of-75 from behind the arc through UNI's first 12 games, putting her on target to challenge UNI's single-season record of 73 threes in a season set by Molly Kelly in 1990.


The Panthers were a second-half team early in the season. Through its first five games, UNI scored 189 of its 317 points (60 percent) in the second half. UNI is 46-of-142 (32.4 percent) from the floor in the first half in its first five games, but the Panthers improve to 59-of-128 (46 percent) after the intermission.


The Panthers could have packed it in when NDSU scored with 17 minutes to play to take a 43-27 lead. The team did not give up, however, shooting 18-of-25 (72 percent) from the floor and finishing with 53 points in the second half to come back and claim a 77-73 victory over the Bison.


The Panthers were picked to finish in the top half of the league standings by the MVC's coaches, SIDs and media, claiming the fifth spot in the preseason poll. Illinois State was the unanimous pick to win the league, followed by Creighton, Drake and Evansville. Last season, UNI was tabbed eighth and finished in a tie for sixth.


Sophomore Jacqui Kalin was selected to the MVC Preseason All-Conference team by the league's coaches, SIDs and media. Kalin was the 2008 MVC Freshman of the Year, and she earned second-team all-conference honors following that season.


In each of the last three seasons, UNI has set new school marks for threes made in a season. In 2005-06, the Panthers set the mark at 174, and the 2006-07 team improved that to 182. The 2007-08 team became the first Panthers squad to make more than 200 threes in a season, connecting 204 times from long distance.


Freshman K.K. Armstrong did not waste any time making an impact in the Panther lineup. The guard scored 25 points and dished out eight assists in UNI's 77-73 win at NDSU in the season opener. Armstrong accounted for UNI's first seven points of the game.


The 2008-09 roster features three sets of high school teammates. Redshirt sophomore Lindsey Swanson and junior Nicole Clausen played together at Denison-Schleswig High School. Sophomore Erin Brocka and freshman Indy Uhlenhopp were teammates at North Butler High School, and freshmen Katelin Oney and K.K. Armstrong both played at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids.


The McLeod Center will feature eight new suites in the 2008-09 season. Peters Construction Corporation has begun construction on the suites and will donate them to UNI before the start of the winter sports season. Each suite will hold 12-16 theater-style seats as well as a hospitality area.


All of UNI's home regular-season women's basketball games can be viewed and listened to on the World Wide Web by going to UNI has partnered with Stretch Internet to provide live video and audio streaming of Panther basketball via "UNI GameDay Online." In addition to video from most home women's basketball contests, and audio from every home and most road games, this subscription-based service also provides video and audio of a number of other UNI sports. In addition, all Panther home women's basketball games have free live stats courtesy of GameTracker.


UNI added three student-athletes to its 2009-10 roster. Joining the Panthers next season will be Amber Kirschbaum from Spirit Lake High School, Jessica McDowell from AGWSR, and Tiffanie Porter from Des Moines East High School.

Kirschbaum was a first-team all-conference and all-state selection as a freshman, sophomore and junior. As a junior, she was also nominated for the Gatorade Player of the Year. Her sophomore year, she was named the 3A all-state tournament team captain. She averaged 17 points and 9 rebounds per game in her career. Kirschbaum also played with the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association select team.

A four-year starter for AGWSR, McDowell earned all-conference honors as a freshman, sophomore and junior. She was also named first-team all-district and all-state in 2008, and she was the conference MVP as a junior. McDowell helped led AGWSR to the state tournaments for the last three seasons, and she has helped the team finish with a 75-4 mark in those three years.

Porter is a two-year starter for Des Moines East. As a junior, she earned second-team all-conference honors, and she averaged 9.0 points, 4.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game. She led the team in steals as a junior.


The 10 MVC teams will return to St. Charles, Mo., from March 12-15 for the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Last season was the first time the event was held at a neutral site, with the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament decided in St. Charles' Family Arena.


Full-season ticket packages are available to see the Panther women's basketball team in action at the McLeod Center. A total of 15 exciting home games are on tap in 2008-09, and single-game tickets are also on sale. Contact UNITix at 319-273-4TIX, or visit the UNITix Office which is located on the Eldon Miller Plaza at the north end of the McLeod Center, for more information. Tickets are also available online by going to the Panthers' official athletics website at

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