Spalding Pulls Away to Beat Eureka, 84-73

Photo courtesy of Michelle Curl.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Curl.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – All five Eureka College women's basketball starters scored in double figures, led by 19 points from senior guard Hayley Reneau (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./Illinois Central), but Spalding limited the Red Devils to two field goals in the fourth quarter on its way to an 84-73 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over EC in Louisville, Ky.

The hosts opened up a 5-0 lead early and led by as many as seven points in the first period. The Red Devils recovered to earn their first lead, 17-16, on a putback by Abby Hahn (Kinmundy, Ill./South Central H.S.), but SU closed the frame on a 11-5 surge to lead 27-22 at the end 10 minutes.

Spalding led for much of the second quarter before Reneau's 3-pointer at the 3:31 mark seized momentum for EC. Samantha Sarnes (Havana, Ill./Havana H.S.) tied the game at 39-39 and another Reneau triple regained the lead for the visitors in the final minute, 42-41. Eureka led by a point at halftime, 44-43.

Leland Matthews scored the first points of the third quarter for SU, helping the Golden Eagles open the half on a 15-4 blitz. Megan Goeing's 3-pointer gave Spalding its first double-digit cushion of the day, 58-48. The Red Devils answered the challenge, holding the hosts to a single field goal over the final 5:53 of the quarter and pulling even at 62-62 on a Kennedy Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) trey in the closing seconds of the period.

Spalding scored on its first possession of the fourth quarter, part of an 8-0 run that covered more than three minutes and the SU lead remained two possessions or more for the remainder of the contest. Eureka went cold from the floor and didn't make its first field goal of the fourth quarter until Sarnes scored with 1:56 to go.

Reneau hit five 3-pointers to increase her season total to 69, nine shy of Emily Camden's 2014-15 single-season record of 78. Reneau also needs just five more points to become just the third player in program history to have a 500-point season and the first since Caty Eeten scored 510 in 2013-14.

Lexi Dooley (Sutter, Ill./Warsaw H.S.) finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Red Devils' only double-double. Dura scored 13 and distributed seven assists to bump her season total to 143, just five shy of the single-season Eureka record of 148 set by Deb Kessinger in 1990-91.

Alex Martin went 9-for-13 from the field for a game-high 25 points. She also hauled down 10 rebounds had nine assists to fall one helper short of a triple-double. The Golden Eagles were credited with an assist on 25 of their 33 baskets and outrebounded the Red Devils, 51-45.

Eureka will break from SLIAC competition Monday for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off at Monmouth, the final non-conference game of the regular season. Eureka beat the Fighting Scots 91-78 at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena on Nov. 21.