CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Northern Iowa broke open a tight game in the fourth quarter and beat Illinois State, 66-48, in a Missouri Valley Conference women's basketball game Friday night before a McLeod Center crowd of 1,461.
ISU, which fell to 13-14 overall and 7-9 in the Valley, closed within 46-41 on Katrina Beck's layup to start the fourth quarter. But the Panthers (14-12, 10-5) went on a 16-0 run and held the Redbirds scoreless for 3:05 to seize the momentum.
“We spent all week preparing for this and at this point in the season we have to be better," said ISU coach Kristen Gillespie, whose team had won five of its previous six games. "It’s just disappointing.”
Viria Livingston connected on all three of her 3-points attempts and paced ISU with 13 points. Hannah Green added 11 points while Megan Talbot contributed eight points, nine rebounds and three assists as the Redbirds shot 34.8 percent from the field.
ISU's Simone Goods, who was named MVC Player of the Week on Monday, was plagued by foul problems the entire game. She scored three points in eight minutes.
UNI, which beat ISU, 58-36, on Jan. 28 in Normal, was paced by Megan Maahs with 18 points. Ellie Howell added 13 points and Kennedy Kirkpatrick 10 as the Panthers shot 52.5 percent from the field and grabbed a 28-24 rebounding advantage.
The Redbirds played catch up the entire way as UNI took a 17-10 lead after the first quarter.
“That first and fourth quarters we just didn’t defend,” said Gillespie.
ISU meets Drake at 2 p.m. Sunday in Des Moines, Iowa.