MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa – Behind another dominant second half, the Eureka College women's basketball team won its seventh straight St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest in a 64-49 victory over Iowa Wesleyan, Wednesday night in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Junior guard Kerrigan Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) put up a career-high 21 points to lead the Red Devils.
Wednesday's win improved the Red Devils to 7-0 in the SLIAC and increased their first-place lead in the standings to three full games. The seven-game start remains Eureka's best in 21 seasons as a member of an NCAA Division III-affiliated conference. Additionally, Eureka has won seven straight league contests for the first time since ripping off 10 straight SLIAC wins from Jan. 10 through Feb. 11 of the 2011-12 season.
The Red Devils grabbed an early 12-7 lead less than six minutes into the game, but a 10-1 IWU run turned the tables and allowed the Tigers to have a 17-15 lead after the first quarter.
The Tigers led by as many as seven points (26-19) late in the second period, but the visitors closed the half on a 7-1 burst to trail only 27-26 at halftime.
The third quarter belonged to the Red Devils. A steal and a basket from junior guard Hayley Reneau (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./Illinois Central) just 34 seconds into the period triggered a run of 14 unanswered points for EC, culminating with a 40-27 cushion after senior forward Michaela Balducci (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S.) pushed down two foul shots with 2:51 remaining in the third quarter. The Tigers didn't score in the quarter until Cairece Allen's 3-point play at the 2:36 mark. Eureka outscored Iowa Wesleyan 21-5 in the frame.
Eureka maintained its double-digit lead for the remainder of the evening, leading by as many as 20 after Luci Weis (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community H.S.) hit a 3-pointer for a 61-41 advantage with 5:21 left.
Dura scored 21 points on a 7-for-13 effort from the field. She made five 3-point field goals, also a career best. Reneau added 17 points and Balducci netted 10. The victory, Eureka's first in Mount Pleasant since the 1991-92 season, snapped a five-game losing streak in the all-time series with the Tigers.
Eureka will look to extend its best start to a conference schedule on Saturday when Blackburn visits for a 1 p.m. tip-off at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena. The Red Devils beat the Beavers, 81-39, in Carlinville on Nov. 30, 2016.