THE OPENING TIP-OFF
EUREKA — The Eureka women's basketball team is 2-0 after a season-opening rout at Rockford and a riveting comeback at Knox.
Now, the Red Devils are headed home. EC will host St.-Mary-of-the-Woods at 5 p.m. Wednesday inside Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena and Convocation Center.
It will be the team's first-ever meeting.
The Red Devils are 2-0 and gunning for their first 3-0 start since 2012.
Last Wednesday, the maroon and gold overcame an 18-point deficit and seized an 83-76 overtime victory over Knox on the road. It was the team's biggest comeback win since joining the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference 2006.
The women manufactured it by making 25 of 36 free throws on the night (including 14 of 18 in the fourth quarter and overtime), and outrebounding Knox 36-30 in the second half. They also made a slew of big shots down the stretch. Of the team's eight 3-pointers on the night, six came after halftime.
Sophomore Olivia Falls had a career night, leading the Red Devils with a career-high 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting and 13 rebounds. Senior Ashley Harfst notched her second straight double-double, adding 20 points while hitting 12 of 14 free-throw attempts and gathering 12 boards.
The Red Devils bring back five returners from last year's squad, including a pair of accomplished four-year seniors in Harfst and Dura.
Dura, a Brimfield product, is currently third in assists in program history with (386). She's only seven behind her sister, Kerrigan Dura, for second, and is gaining ground on record holder Molly Hardesty (415). At Knox, she also moved up to eighth in program history with 109 3-pointers and remains ninth in 3-point attempts (295) and blocked shots (60).
Harfst, who hails from Saunemin, has moved up to sixth in program history in career free throws with 260. In addition, she's the team's active leader in career points (826) and rebounds (4449).
ABOUT ST. MARY-OF-THE-WOODS
St. Mary-of-the-Woods enters Wednesday's contest with a 1-5 record.
The Pomeroys' lone win came in an 87-83 triumph over Brescia University on Nov. 9 . Before that, they lost against Kentucky Christian University, Carlow University and Indiana University-Southeast. Since then, they've lost at Midway University and Greenville.
Against EC's SLIAC foe, Greenville, St. Mary-of-the-Woods fell behind early and late, resulting in a 91-75 loss.
The Pomeroys are dedicated to running The System — the distinct strategy and style of play first honed by Grinnell. The five basic goals of The System are to take 100 shots per game, shoot 50 3-pointers per game, get 35 percent of the available offensive rebounds, forced 32 turnovers and take 25 more shots than the opponent
The result of setting of these goals is a high energy, high pressure, high shot count and a high quantity of substitutions. The Pomeroys have 15 players on the roster who average between 16 and 10 minutes per game.
As a team, they're averaging 49.6 points per game, 12 made 3 pointers per game and 20 forced turnovers per game.
Millikin is off to a 3-0 start. The Big Blue has taken down two of EC's SLIAC foes, opening the season with an 81-74 victory over Greenville on Nov. 8, then taking down Westminster 68-52 the following night.
Most recently, they bested Milwaukee School of Engineering 68-51 on Saturday.
Jordan Hildenbrand led the way with a 20-point effort, while Bailey Coffman followed with 14 and Aubrey Staton and Jazmin Brown each added 10 points. Abby Ratsch notched 15 rebounds. Hildebrand is averaging 21.3 points per game and Ratsch is just under 10 rebounds per game.