EUREKA, Ill. -- A pair of St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titans will meet Saturday when the Eureka College women's basketball team welcomes Webster to Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena for a 1 p.m. tip-off. The game represents the Red Devils' final conference game until Jan. 3.
Preview: Red Devils Renew Rivalry With Webster Saturday
|Webster (5-3, 1-2SLIAC)||20||15||13||20||68|
|Eureka (6-4, 3-1 SLIAC)||20||16||28||15||79|
Posted: Dec 15, 2017
Eureka owns a 5-4 overall record and will aim for its first three-game win streak of the 2017-18 season on Saturday. The Red Devils are 2-1 in SLIAC play to own a three-way tie with Fontbonne and Westminster for second place in the early-season league standings. A win on Saturday would also give EC at least three wins in its first four conference games for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
The Red Devils rank second in the league and 15th nationally with 80.1 points per game. Their 78 3-pointers made as a team are 11th-most in Division III and their team 3-point field percentage of 35.8 rankd 38th.
Eight letterwinners return from Eureka's 20-win team that swept the the SLIAC regular season and tournament championships and went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Seven of the returnees played in at least 27 games and four started at least 14 contests.
THE NATIONAL SCORING LEADER
Eureka senior Hayley Reneau will enter Saturday's clash with the Gorloks as the NCAA Division III leader with 225 total points and a scoring average of 25.0 points per game.
The Washington, Ill. native has nearly doubled her offensive production from a year ago. She shoots 49 percent from the field, 38 percent from 3-point range and has scored 18 points or more in all nine outings this season. Her 41 points in a Nov. 21 victory over Monmouth were the second-most in a game in Eureka women's basketball history.
Reneau leads the Red Devils this season with 30 3-pointers and moved into sixth place on Sunday on Eureka's all-time list for 3-pointers with 98 career triples. With two more 3-pointers, she'll become the sixth player in program history to make 100 in a career and the first player to reach the number in less than three seasons.
Additionally, Eureka continues to lead Division III with 195 total assists and an average of 21.7 assists per contest. Sophomore Kennedy Dura ranks second nationally with 71 total assists and 7.9 assists per game, while senior sister Kerrigan Dura's 56 assists are fourth-most in the country.
Kerrigan's career assist total of 304 is seventh-most in program history. Kennedy already has 178 career assists through just 37 games, tied for 19th-most by a Red Devil.
RED DEVILS DUMP LINCOLN CHRISTIAN AT "MIDNIGHT MADNESS"
Hayley Reneau scored 23 of her game-high 29 points in the first half and sophomore guard Kennedy Dura collected nine of the Red Devils' 22 assists in a 74-40 non-conference rout of Lincoln Christian last Sunday morning at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena. The game tipped off at 12 a.m. as part of EC's third annual "Midnight Madness" event.
Reneau finished 12-for-21 from the field and made five 3-pointers. Samantha Sarnes scored nine points off the bench. Lexi Dooley led EC with 10 rebounds and Sabrina Clay finished the contest with four of EC's 13 steals. Dura's nine-assist effort increased her season total to a league-best 73. Eureka has won all 20 of its contests on record against the Red Lions since 1998.
The Gorloks will bring a three-game win streak to Woodford County on Saturday after securing double-digit victories over Finlandia (97-68), crosstown SLIAC rival Fontbonne (79-60) and Monmouth (79-44) since Dec. 5. Webster is 5-2 overall and 1-1 against SLIAC opponents.
Senior forward Aley Lucas leads WU with a scoring average of 14.6 points per game. She shoots 46 percent from the floor and ranks third in the SLIAC with a 2.3-assist-to-turnover ratio. Senior guard Kelsey Miller is next with 10.6 points per game and classmate Taylor Lucas averages 10.3 points and a team-best 6.2 rebounds per game.
WU leads the SLIAC and ranks eighth nationally both in steals per game (17.1) and turnover margin (+14.0). The Gorloks are also efficient at the free throw line -- their team percentage of 81.3 is second-highest among 435 Division III teams. One area the Gorloks have strugged is rebounding, being outpaced on the glass by their opponents by an average of 9.8 boards per contest.
Webster returned to the SLIAC Tournament semifinals last season after missing the event in 2015 and 2016. The Gorloks were picked third in the league for the current campaign according to a preseason coaches' poll.
THE SERIES VERSUS WEBSTER
Webster leads the all-time series with Eureka, 15-13, but the Red Devils have won three in a row and four of the last six over the Gorloks since January 2015. EC has also beaten WU in four straight contests at the Reagan Athletic Complex. Including last season's SLIAC Tournament semifinal loss to Greenville, the Gorloks have lost five straight games in Eureka since December 2013.
Eureka swept last season's series with the Gorloks, including a 75-66 win in St. Louis on Dec. 17, 2016 that snapped a three-game skid inside WU's Grant Gymnasium.
MEET THE HEAD COACHES
Amos Arbogast is in his first season as head coach of the Red Devils. He was selected as the 12th head coach in program history on July 6, 2017.
Arbogast had previously served the EC men's basketball program as an assistant coach for six seasons and played pivotal role as an assistant for a program that has proved to be an annual contender in the SLIAC. Arbogast helped guide the Red Devils to consecutive berths to the SLIAC Tournament semifinals in 2012 and 2013, including an appearance in the title game in 2013.
Jefferson City, Mo. native Jordan Olufson is in his 10th season as the head coach at Webster. Olufson guided the Gorloks to a SLIAC Tournament title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament in 2011. His nine-year record at WU is 135-107, including a 12-8 mark against Eureka. He is the program's all-time winningest coach.
Olufson came to Webster after a stint as an assistant coach at Central Missouri. He played collegiately for Missouri Valley and Ashford before earning an undergraduate degree in sports and recreation management from AU in 2006 and a master's degree from Central Missouri.