EUREKA, Ill. – The Eureka College women's basketball team shot a season-high 56 percent from the field and scored 100 points for the first time in more than four years in a 100-85 non-conference victory over Rust (Miss.), Sunday afternoon at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.
The 100-point outburst was Eureka's best since defeating Knox, 112-83, on Nov. 15, 2012. Additionally, the Red Devils' 56 percent shooting effort was their most accurate performance since connecting at a 59 percent clip at Westminster on Feb. 2, 2013.
Eureka (7-5) led for all 40 minutes Sunday, taking a 1-0 lead after Rust was charged with an administrative technical foul before tip-off. The hosts' lead quickly ballooned to 8-0 less than two minutes later. A bucket from sophomore guard Samantha Sarnes (Havana, Ill./Havana H.S.) in the closing seconds of the period gave the Red Devils a 26-11 lead after one quarter.
Rust (1-13), which snapped a 14-game losing streak with a win Saturday at Manchester, recovered to control a large portion of the second quarter. Jasmine Golden's 3-pointer at the 1:28 mark of the period capped a 23-14 run from the visitors and trimmed the RC deficit to 40-34. EC closed the half with a run of their own, as a jumper from senior guard Luci Weis (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community H.S.) with five seconds left before intermission moved the Red Devils in front, 47-36.
The Red Devils' lead was never challenged after halftime. Golden's triple slashed the Rust deficit to 59-49 at the 4:46 mark of the third quarter, but EC responded by scoring 18 of the final 21 points of the frame for a 77-56 advantage.
The EC advantage swelled to as many as 24 points in the final quarter when freshman guard Kennedy Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) connected for an 82-58 cushion with 8:46 left. Eureka would lead by 14 points or more the rest of the way.
Five Red Devils scored in double figures, led by 22 points from junior guard Hayley Reneau (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./Illinois Central) on 8-for-9 shooting and a career-high 14 points off the bench from freshman guard Ashley Harfst (Pontiac, Ill./Pontiac H.S.). Senior forward Michaela Balducci (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S.) netted 17 points, Kennedy Dura had 13 and junior guard Kerrigan Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) finished with 10. Sophomore forward Lexi Dooley (Sutter, Ill./Warsaw H.S.) hauled down 12 rebounds.
The Red Devils compiled 14 steals as a team, led by four apiece from Reneau and Weis. EC also outrebounded RC, 39-37, and outscored the Bearcats in the paint, 48-24.
Golden scored 51 points on 17-for-35 shooting for the Bearcats, the most points on record in program history by an opposing player. She made nine 3-pointers, but committed seven of the Bearcats' 21 turnovers. Megan Rayford scored 15 points and collected a game-high 15 rebounds for the game's only double-double.
Eureka will return to St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference competition on Wednesday when Fontbonne visits Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena for a 6 p.m. tip-off. All of Eureka's 13 remaining regular-season games are against SLIAC opponents.