Panthers a basket better than Shockers

Northern Iowa defeats Wichita State by two points.


Manny De Los Santos

Junior forward Rangie Bessard drives past a UNI defender in the fourth quarter Sunday afternoon as the Shockers lose in the final minutes against Northern Iowa 63-61 at Charles Koch Arena.

Tied at 49 going into the fourth quarter, everything came down to the last ten minutes for Wichita State and the University of Northern Iowa.

At the end of a neck-and-neck battle, a three-minute dry spell put WSU’s offense a basket behind — the end result as UNI won 64-62.

“It’s understanding how to win and how to compete against great teams in this league. [UNI] does it well on both sides of the ball, they stick with their philosophy,” head coach Jody Adams-Birch said.

The Shockers took an early lead and held the lead a majority of the first three quarters.

Two UNI turnovers gave WSU a five-point lead at halftime.

Leading scorer, senior guard TaQuandra Mike kept WSU in the game with 20 points and seven steals — each season highs.

“When I get steals or just play good defense, that’s what fires my offense up,” Mike said. “My coach tells me ‘Don’t try to force your offense. Play defense and your offense will come.’”

Junior forward Rangie Bessard finished with a double-double, with 15 and 15.

Adams-Birch said there are many lessons to be drawn from the two-point conference loss — their second loss through two conference games.

“It’s an understanding of taking care of the ball, timing, knowing who you’re guarding, boxing out and just knowing the plays,” Adams-Birch said. “This team is still learning.”

UNI is picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley.

“One thing that I am really proud of is having competed against number one and number two,” Adams-Birch said.

WSU ended 50 percent from the paint, while UNI shot 45.7 percent.

The Shockers, still in search of their first conference win, will be on the road against Missouri State on Jan. 6.