MONMOUTH, Ill. – Behind a game-high 23 points from senior guard Hayley Reneau (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./Illinois Central) and 18 points from sophomore Kennedy Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.), the Eureka College women's basketball team won at Monmouth for the first time since 2001 and finished a season series sweep of the Fighting Scots in a 70-63 non-conference triumph, Monday night in Monmouth, Ill.
The victory improves the Red Devils to 15-7 overall, the fifth time in the last seven seasons EC has won at least 15 games. Eureka also ended a four-game losing streak at Monmouth and beat the Scots in Monmouth for the first time since earning a 66-65 victory on Nov. 27, 2001.
Samantha Sarnes (Havana, Ill./Havana H.S.) broke a 9-9 tie with 3:45 left in the first quarter and triggered a 13-3 run by the hosts to close the frame. A Lexi Dooley (Sutter, Ill./Warsaw H.S.) basket in the final moments of the period gave the Red Devils their first double-digit lead, 22-12.
Monmouth recovered to trim its deficit over the remainder of the first half. Keri Dodson pulled the Scots as close as four, 29-25, midway through the second period. Reneau's 3-pointer at the 1:23 mark ultimately pushed EC's cushion back to 10, but the hosts scored four in a row in the final 67 seconds before halftime to trail 39-33 at the break.
The Scots took their first lead since 2-0 when Carley Turnbull's layup pushed MC in front 44-43, part of a 9-0 run that culminated with Monmouth's largest lead, 47-43. Eureka answered by scoring 11 of the next 15 points and regaining a 52-51 edge on two free throws from Ashley Harfst (Saunemin, Ill./Pontiac H.S.) with just 55 seconds left in the quarter. EC led 54-51 at the end of three.
Eureka's lead dwindled to one on two separate occasions in the final period, but the Scots would never force a tied score or take the lead. Harfst's 3-point play with 5:46 remaining extended the advantage to 62-56 and two Dura free throws in the final minute gave the visitors their largest lead of the second half, 68-60. The Scots were limited to one basket over a stretch of nearly five minutes midway through the final quarter and missed five 3-point shots in the final 10 minutes.
Reneau, who torched the Scots for 41 points in the Red Devils' victory in November, tallied 23 points Monday on 10-for-21 shooting. Dura went 7-for-8 at the free throw line en route to 18 points and Sarnes added 12 off the bench. Eureka went 16-for-21 at the charity stripe and outrebounded the hosts, 37-27.
Tia Robertson paced the Scots with 20 points. Turnbull netted 12. Nine different players played at least 14 minutes for Monmouth, which outscored EC in paint 36-28.
Eureka will resume St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play Saturday afternoon in a 1 p.m. tip-off against Westminster at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.