Red Devils Fall Short at Muskingum, 67-60

Photo courtesy of Bob Hunt.
Photo courtesy of Bob Hunt.

NEW CONCORD, Ohio – Muskingum took advantage of the ninth and final lead change of Friday's game against the Eureka College women's basketball team, breaking a 58-58 tie on three free throws from Olivia Besancon with 1:27 remaining en route to a 67-60 non-conference victory over the Red Devils in New Concord, Ohio. Senior guard Hayley Reneau (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./Illinois Central) scored a game-high 28 points for EC.

Facing a short turnaround after Thursday's win at Wooster, the visitors carried a 47-45 advantage into the final quarter on Friday. The two squads traded the lead three times and played to three tied scores in the final 8:33. The Red Devils rallied to force a 56-56 deadlock on a Reneau layup with 2:54 left and a 58-58 tie on a layup from Kennedy Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) at the 1:51 mark, but Besancon was fouled on a 3-point try and made all three foul shots to give the Muskies the lead for good, 61-58, with 1:27 to play.

Eureka (7-5) got two looks at a game-tying 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, but neither attempt would go down. MU went 9-for-9 from the foul line in the final 111 seconds to close out the Red Devils' attempt to win games away from the Reagan Athletic Complex on consecutive days for the first time since downing Carroll and North Park to claim CU's Kilgour Tournament championship in Waukesha, Wis. in November 1998.

Muskingum (5-4) led 17-13 after one period, but Eureka took charge in the second quarter. Trailing 26-21 with 6:02 left before intermission, Lexi Dooley (Sutter, Ill./Warsaw H.S.) scored inside to start a 10-0 Eureka run to close the half. Kerrigan Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) pushed the Red Devils in front, 27-26, with a layup at the 3:05 mark of the quarter. Four different players scored during the stretch and Reneau's layup with 1:16 left before the break was the final basket of the period.

The Muskies opened the second half with seven unanswered points for a 33-31 cushion. EC bounced back to regain a 35-33 lead on Reneau's field goal with 6:13 left in the quarter. Another Reneau bucket later in the frame gave the Red Devils their largest advantage of the afternoon, 44-36, at the 2:54 mark. The EC lead at the end of the third quarter ultimately dwindled to just two points.

Kerrigan Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) joined Reneau in double figures with 15 points. Dooley tacked on 10 points and paced EC with eight rebounds. Eureka was plagued by a 3-for-21 performance from 3-point range and got to the free throw line only six times.

Besancon and Alexandra Carson shared team-high scoring honors for MU with 15 points apiece. Stephanie Clark was a force on the glass, hauling down 16 rebounds to help the Muskies enjoy a 53-46 rebounding advantage. Muskingum made 10 3-pointers and went 15-for-21 as a team from the foul line.

Following an 11-day break from game competition for the holidays, Eureka will return to St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action on Wednesday, Jan. 3 against Spalding. Tip-off at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena is scheduled for 6 p.m.