TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Preseason favorite Indiana State held the Northern Iowa women's basketball team scoreless for the first six minutes of play on its way to a 60-53 victory in the Missouri Valley Conference opener on Friday night at the Hulman Center.
Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir had career-highs of 20 points and nine rebounds along with six assists and three steals to lead the Sycamores (6-6, 1-0), who led 13-0 before UNI got on the board.
Indiana State led by as many as 16 points in the first half, but got outscored 32-28 by the visiting Panthers after the break. Ty Smith came off the bench to lead Northern Iowa with 15 points, going 4-of-6 from the field, 2-of-2 from 3-point land and 5-of-5 at the free-throw line.
The Panthers came back to within three points during the second half but couldn't overtake the Sycamores.
Smith, a junior transfer from Iowa Western Community College, was the only UNI player to score in double figures. Brittni Donaldson and Jen Keitel both contributed nine points for the Panthers (4-8, 0-1).
Northern Iowa remains on the road to open MVC play, traveling to face Illinois State on Sunday afternoon.