Red Devils fall short in SLIAC semifinal against Westminster

Red Devils fall short in SLIAC semifinal against Westminster

FULTON, Ill. – Eureka College women's basketball junior Michaela Balducci (Eureka, Ill./Eureka) scored 18 points and freshman Samantha Sarnes (Havana, Ill./Havana) added 11, but top-seeded Westminster closed out strong over the final quarter of play to beat the fourth-seeded Red Devils, 71-64, in a 2016 SLIAC Tournament semifinal Friday night on the campus of Westminster College in Fulton, Mo.

Eureka closes out the season with an 11-15 overall record, while Westminster advances to the SLIAC Championship tomorrow night against Greenville.

The Blue Jays jumped out to an early 9-2 edge, thanks to a pair of early baskets from forward Krista Armontrout. Westminster held the Red Devils to just 26.7 percent shooting from the field and 12.5 percent from beyond the arc in the first quarter.

Eureka fought back in the second stanza, eventually evening the score at 23 after a pair of made free throws from Sarnes. Westminster responded with an 8-0 burst and closed out the half on a 14-4 run to take a 37-27 lead into intermission.

Balducci and classmate Luci Weis (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community) led the Red Devils over the first two quarters with seven points apiece.

The Red Devils whittled Westminster's lead throughout the third quarter, outscoring the host 21-12 over the timeframe and headed into the final quarter trailing by one, 49-48. Sarnes scored 8 of her 11 points in the quarter, shooting a perfect 3-for-3 from the field.

Sophomore Kerrigan Dura (Brimfield, Ill./Brimfield) gave the Red Devils their first lead of the night, 52-51, after connecting on 3-pointer with 7:10 remaining on the clock. WC took back the lead and held off Eureka's final push to pull away with a 71-64 final.

Camden tacked on nine points and closed out her 100-game career with 213 made 3-point field goals and 1,091 points. She will leave Eureka as the all-time leader in 3-point field goals made and 10th all-time in career scoring. She also ranks first in 3-point field goals attempted (635) and fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (.335). She was a two-time All-SLIAC performer and SLIAC Player of the Week twice.

Dura finished the night with 10 points. Balducci grabbed nine rebounds and freshman Lexi Dooley (Sutter, Ill./Warsaw) provided six points and six rebounds.

WC's Armontrout led the Blue Jays' offensive charge with a game-high 26 points. Westminster outrebounded the Red Devils 41-35 and outscored Eureka 16-6 in the paint. Andrea Zalis and Mackenzie Haddox add 15 and 10 points for the Blue Jays.