EUREKA, Ill. – Millikin's Lauren Moses broke a 71-71 tie on a layup with 3:56 left in the fourth quarter, igniting a run of five consecutive MU points and paving the way for the visitors' 82-73 non-conference victory over the Eureka College women's basketball team, Monday night at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.
Millikin grabbed a 16-11 lead late in the first quarter but only led by a point (18-17) after 10 minutes after a basket from Lexi Dooley (Sutter, Ill./Warsaw H.S.) and four free throws from Hayley Reneau (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./Illinois Central).
Eureka scored the first five points of the second quarter and led 22-18 after a 3-point play from Sabrina Clay (Galesburg, Ill./Galesburg H.S./Carl Sandburg) less than two minutes into the frame. The Big Blue responded with a flurry, scoring 18 of the next 24 points to move in front 36-28 on a jumper from Emily Schultz with 1:32 remaining before halftime. MU led 38-31 at the break.
The Red Devils finally pulled even, 47-47, after an offensive rebound and jumper from Ashley Harfst (Saunemin, Ill./Pontiac H.S.) with 4:17 remaining in the third quarter. The hosts pushed in front less than two minutes later, 50-49, on a 3-point play by Kennedy Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.). The score was tied 55-55 at the end of the period.
Clay's layup ultimately allowed the Red Devils to move in front, 69-68, with 4:57 left. The Big Blue and Red Devils traded baskets over the next two possessions and Dura's layup forced a 71-71 tie at the 4:21 mark of the final period.
Moses answered with her go-ahead layup and the visitors wouldn't trail again. EC had four chances to tie or take the lead over the next two-plus minutes, but turnovers and a missed 3-pointer allowed Yanni Saddler to extend Millikin's lead to 76-71 on a 3-pointer with 1:46 left. MU went on to make six consecutive free throws in the final 26 seconds to keep the Red Devils out of striking distance.
Reneau led the Red Devils with 18 points and five steals. Dura added 13 points and Kerrigan Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) led EC with nine rebounds. The two squads finished the game with 37 rebounds apiece, but the Red Devils outscored the Big Blue in the paint, 42-26.
Devin Curry led all scorers with 24 points. She was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line.
Eureka will begin its 16-game St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schedule Wednesday against preseason league favorite Greenville at the Reagan Athletic Complex at 6 p.m. The Red Devils took two out of three contests against the Panthers last season, including a victory in the SLIAC Tournament championship game.