CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) — Coming off a 20 win season that ended in the WNIT, the UNI Panthers have some big goals moving forward.
Led by pre-season All-Missouri Valley Conference pick Karli Rucker, the Panthers will chase their first regular season MVC title since 2016. Things will get tough, however, before UNI even plays their first conference game, as they face six power-five opponents in their non-conference slate.
“To play Missouri at Missouri, Iowa here, and Iowa State, then Ohio State and Alabama on the road in Vegas is going to be awesome,” says Rucker.
“It puts UNI on the map,” agrees junior forward Megan Maahs, who missed much of last season after suffering an ACL tear, “It’s going to set us up great for our conference schedule, because our conference is going to be as tough as it’s ever been.”
The Panthers were picked to finish third in the preseason. They’ve won 20 games in three of the last four years and now see an opportunity to challenge defending conference champion Drake for the MVC crown.
If we throw all the pieces together that this team has, I think we’ll have a good shot at winning it,” says Maahs.
UNI opens up exhibition play when they host Upper Iowa on Sunday.