Red Devils Start Fast, Close Out Fontbonne, 76-65

Photo courtesy of Summer Inselmann.
Photo courtesy of Summer Inselmann.

EUREKA — Fontbonne came to Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena Saturday, and the Eureka women didn't let that end their win streak.

After getting off to a red-hot start and building a sizable lead in the first half, the Red Devils withstood a comeback push from the Griffins in the second to pick up their fourth straight win.

The visitors trimmed a 23-point second-half lead to single digits in the fourth quarter, but the EC women did what they needed to preserve a 76-65 victory in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action.

The win avenged a 97-81 January loss to the Griffins and moved the Red Devils to 12-10 on the season and 6-7 in the SLIAC.

For EC, freshman Josie Morgan (Washington, Ill./Washington) posted a team-high 18 points on 6-for-14 shooting and distributed a team-high six assists, while junior Ashley Harfst (Saunemin, Ill./Pontiac) tallied 17 points and collected a career-high 15 rebounds.

Another freshman, Olivia Falls (Bloomington, Ill./Bloomington), was a perfect 6 of 6 from the floor and finished with 13 points. Junior Kennedy Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield) added 10 points, and senior Samantha Sarnes (Havana, Ill./Havana) chipped in with eight.

As a team, Eureka shot 49.1 percent from the field, knocked down 8 3-pointers and went 16-for-18 from the free-throw line.

Morgan knocked down 3 of 6 attempts from deep, while Dura and Ja'Keesha Hawkins (Peoria, Ill./Peoria) each went 2-for-4. Harfst, Morgan and Falls were a combined 12-for-12 at the stripe.

Relentlessly aggressive on both ends of the floor, the Red Devils jumped out to a 19-1 lead and didn't allow the Griffins to score from the floor for 7 ½ minutes.

While EC was shooting a sizzling 61.5 percent from the field, Fontbonne only scored two field goals in the first 10 minutes of play. By halftime, the Griffins were only at 18 percent.

The Red Devils led by as many as 22 points in the first half after Hawkins drilled treys off Morgan dimes on back-to-back EC possessions with 2:21 remaining.  

The Griffins responded by scoring the last seven points of the half to make it a 15-point game at the break. Since nothing was falling, the visitors kept themselves in the game on the defensive end, forcing 11 turnovers in each half.

Fontbonne finished at 28.8 percent from the field despite keeping it respectable down the stretch.

Paige Black tallied a team-high 15 points for Fontbonne, with eight coming at the free-throw line. Raven Venegas added 13.