EUREKA — On Wednesday, the Eureka women have a chance to avenge a tough conference loss from the first half of the season.
The Red Devils will host Spalding at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena and Convocation Center at 5:30 p.m.
Eureka is back at home after piecing together a three-game winning streak – its first of the season. The Red Devils pulled away from Robert Morris-Springfield for a 32-point win in non-conference play on Sunday, and took care of a pair of St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponents in Iowa Wesleyan and MacMurray in the week before that.
Sunday's win brought them to .500 on the season at 8-8, but they're still two games under in the SLIAC at 3-5. A win Wednesday would give EC its first over a top-four SLIAC opponent.
Balance has been the constant for the Red Devils this season, and that remained the case in Sunday's win, in which five EC players tallied between eight and 12 points. Senior Samantha Sarnes and freshman Josie Morgan led the way with 12 and 11, respectively. Freshman Sierrah Seals posted a team-high 10 rebounds, along with nine points.
Junior Kennedy Dura, meanwhile, leads the SLIAC in assists (77) and is fifth in steals (39).
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.
Spalding enters this rematch occupying fourth place in the SLIAC with a 6-2 conference mark and an 11-6 record overall. The Golden Eagles lost to first-place Greenville and third-place Westminster, but they blew away second-place Webster 70-43 on Dec. 15.
They're looking to pick up their fifth straight win after dominating Principia 89-46 on Saturday.
The Golden Eagles have one the SLIAC's top players in senior Alex Martin, who averages 16.7 points and 7.2 boards per game while shooting 44.9 percent from the floor.
Maleah Hirn follows with 12.3 points per game, and Megan Goeing is the team's best outside shooter at 36.3 percent from 3.
As a team, the Golden Eagles average 68.5 points per game to EC's 71.3 and shoots 38.5 percent from the field to EC's 37.8.
This will be the 21st showdown between the Red Devils and the Golden Eagles.
Spalding has a 13-7 advantage over Eureka in the all-time series, but the two teams have been pretty even at the Reagan Athletic Complex, with the Golden Eagles owning a 5-4 edge.
The last matchup, of course, was down south, where the Golden Eagles led wire to wire and won by 12 earlier this season. They shot particularly well from outside that day, knocking down 13 3-pointers and shooting 39.4 percent from beyond the arc — over nine percent better than their season average.
Junior Allison Just scored a season-high 17 points while making 4-of-6 from 3, and Goeing hit 4-of-6 triples, as well.
Eureka only shot 31.7 percent from the field. Falls posted a then-career-high 13 points for the Red Devils, while Seals tallied 10 in her first collegiate start.
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.
Charlie Just is in his 16th season as head coach at Spalding. The 1977 Ohio Northern graduate won back-to-back SLIAC Coach of the Year awards in 2014 and in 2015, and led the Golden Eagles to the SLIAC tournament three years in a row from 2014 to 2016.
Just owns four decades of coaching experience between the high school and collegiate levels and is nearing 700 overall victories. He owns previous collegiate experience at NCAA Division II Bellarmine, leading his squads to eight NCAA Tournaments and the 1994 Final Four.
FOLLOW THE ACTION ONLINE
Eureka will provide a live online video broadcast of Wednesday's game. Links will be available at EurekaRedDevils.com, SLIAC.org and D3hoops.com.