EUREKA — The Eureka women will vie for their third consecutive home victory on Sunday, when MacMurray comes to town for a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference clash at 5 p.m. inside Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.
After topping Anderson (Ind.) in December and Principia last Saturday in non-conference play, the Red Devils are looking to improve their standing in the SLIAC.
Eureka is coming off a 97-81 loss to Fontbonne that dropped the Red Devils to 5-8 on the season and 1-5 in the SLIAC.
The team got off to a slow start, but a few bright spots emerged as the game transpired. Freshman Josie Morgan racked up a career-high 26 points while the Red Devils nearly made it a single-digit game with a 29-point explosion in the fourth quarter.
The Red Devils have four players averaging over 11 points per game: Senior Samantha Sarnes (11.6), Morgan (11.4) and junior Kennedy Dura (11.2). Harfst and Falls are right behind them at 10.3 and nine, respectively.
Dura, who added four assists to her season total (65) in the Fontbonne game, is five assists behind Westminster's (Mo.) Rei Imamura for the most in the SLIAC this season. She also ranks fourth in the SLIAC in steals (34).
Falls collects 6.5 rebounds per game and shoots a team-best 51.3 percent from the floor. Freshman Sierrah Seals contributes 5.5 boards per contest.
Eureka returns two starters and three letterwinners from last season's 18-win team, which went to the SLIAC Tournament semifinals for the seventh consecutive season. The Red Devils were picked fifth in a preseason SLIAC poll conducted by league head coaches.
MacMurray enters still looking for its first conference win. The Highlanders are 1-14 and 0-6 in SLIAC play.
They're led by standout forward Chassidy Hays, who averages 17.8 points per game. The freshman from Heyworth, Illinois, shot 13 for 14 from the floor and finished with 28 points and 17 rebounds in a 12-point loss against Spalding on Wednesday.
She's currently leading the SLIAC in field goal percentage (64.2), rebounds per game (13.8) and total rebounds (180), and was this week's SLIAC Player of the Week.
Sophomore guard Shleby Fink adds 11.9 points per game for the Highlanders, who have averaged 59 points per game to Eureka's 71.2.
To say Eureka has had MacMurray's number over the years is a quite an understatement.
The Red Devils have bested the Highlanders 44 times in 49 meetings dating back to the 1983-84 season, and have won the last 16 contests.
Both games were blowouts last year. The first time around, Eureka put up 103 points en route to a 30-point victory. Dura dropped 19 points and dished 10 assists, while Harfst registered 12 points and 11 boards.
The following month, Sarnes notched a career-high 26 points off the bench as the Red Devils surged to a 96-71 win. Dura added 15 points.
MEET THE HEAD COACHES
Amos Arbogast is in his second season directing the Red Devils. The 2006 Iowa graduate directed Eureka to 18 wins last season, the most victories by a first-year EC head coach since Hall of Famer Sandy Schuster piloted EC to a 19-7 mark in 1991-92.
Arbogast, who served the Eureka men's basketball program as an assistant for six seasons prior to his appointment, welcomed nine newcomers to the program for the 2018-19 campaign.
First-year MacMurray coach Chad Harmon took over the Highlanders this season after spending the last two as the Director of Basketball Operations at the University of Evansville, his alma mater. He was previously an assistant at Monmouth College and the University of Illinois-Springfield.
After graduating from Evansville in 2009, Harmon helped Lincoln College win back-to-back NJCAA Division National Championships in 2010 and 2011.
FOLLOW THE ACTION ONLINE
Eureka will provide a live online video broadcast of Saturday's game. Links will be available at EurekaRedDevils.com, SLIAC.org and D3hoops.com.