CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - The University of Northern Iowa women's basketball team closed out its senior night in style with a 68-66 win over the Drake Bulldogs in the McLeod Center on Sunday.
UNI's three seniors - K.K. Armstrong, Katelin Oney and Rachel Madrigal - were able to go out winners after trailing by seven points at the half and by as many as eight points in the first half. Armstrong delivered a game-high 23 points in the win. Oney chipped in with 12 points on the strength of a trio of 3-pointers. UNI moved to 16-11 overall and 9-7 in Missouri Valley Conference play.
Drake (14-14 overall, 8-9 MVC) got a double-double from Rachael Hackbarth with 20 points and 18 rebounds. Kyndal Clark also contributed with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field.
Drake jumped on the Panthers early with a 7-0 run to start the game. UNI clawed back to within one point at 17-16 with 7:02 left in the first half before the Bulldogs extended the margin back to eight points. Drake took a 28-20 lead with 1:55 left in the first half after a bucket by Hackbarth.
UNI turned the tables on the Bulldogs in the second half by putting together an 11-0 run to take its first lead of the game. UNI led 38-34 with 16:04 left in the game following back-to-back baskets by Armstrong that fired up the home crowd of 2,307.
Drake answered UNI's run with a 7-0 spurt of its own to take a 43-40 lead with 12:02 left in the game.
UNI trailed 54-51 with 7:41 left in the game but a 6-0 run by the Panthers allowed the home squad to retake the advantage at 57-54.
Oney's 3-pointer with 1:38 left in the game gave UNI a 66-62 lead. Clark trimmed the lead to two at 66-64 with a bucket with 1:19 left. Armstrong looked to seal the game with 28.1 seconds left but missed the front end of a 1-and-1.
Drake's Hackbarth then missed a jumper off the glass that would have tied the game with under 15 seconds left. Armstrong was fouled on the rebound and calmly sank both free throws with 11.4 ticks left in the game.
The Bulldogs tallied a putback by Clark with 2.3 seconds left and had to foul Oney with 1.0 left in the game. Oney missed both free throws, but Hackbarth's 80-foot heave fell short and to the left giving UNI a 68-66 victory.
UNI will travel to Missouri State (March 1) and Wichita State (March 3) to close out the MVC regular season next weekend.
NOTES: Armstrong tallied her third 20-plus scoring game of the season and fifth of her career ... UNI has defeated Drake six straight times ... UNI has won 16 or more games for the third straight season.