THE OPENING TIP-OFF
Another week, another challenge against one of the top teams in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the Eureka women's basketball team.
The Red Devils are going on the road to face second-place SLIAC squad Greenville on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Then, on Saturday, EC will host Blackburn inside Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena and Convocation Center 1 p.m. as the second half of the conference slate begins.
The Red Devils are 9-6 on the season and 5-3 in SLIAC play.
They've now won three of five league contests since January began, splitting on the road two weeks ago and splitting at home this past week.
Last Thursday, the Red Devils notched a 75-74 marquee win against then-league-leading Spalding in dramatic fashion, executing under pressure late and renewing its status as a contender in the top tier of the conference.
On Saturday, Webster bested the Red Devils 90-70 and knocked them back into the middle of the pack, tied with Spalding and Westminster for third with a 5-3 mark in league play. Webster (7-1), Greenville (6-2) and Fontbonne (6-2) sit atop the standing.
The Red Devils continue to lead the league in scoring with an average of 77.3 points per game, as well as rebounds (42.7) and steals (13.2). Defensively, they've limited opponents to a league-low 36.9 percent shooting, and they're fourth in lowest points allowed (66.5).
Senior Ashley Harfst leads the league in rebounding (173 on the season), and is the only player in the league to be average a double-double (13.7 points and 11.5 rebounds).
Heading into Wednesday, Harfst is only seven points away from reaching the 1,000-point plateau. If and when it happens, she'll become only the 17th player in program history to reach the mark and first since Emily Camden in 2016.
Sophomore Olivia Falls isn't far behind Harfst on the season with 14.9 points (fifth in the SLIAC) and 9.9 rebounds (second in the SLIAC). She also leads the SLIAC in field-goal percentage at 58.3 percent.
Greenville is currently sitting a notch ahead of the Red Devils with a 6-2 record in league play, and the Panthers have the same record overall at 9-6.
The Panthers are the hottest team in the conference, riding a five-game game winning streak since 2020 began.
In succession, they've taken down Spalding (77-63), MacMurray (88-48), Principia (77-33), Blackburn (83-32) and Iowa Wesleyan (77-49).
They're right behind the Red Devils in scoring at 74.7 points per game and have conceded a league-low 61.7 points per game.
Greenville is a well-rounded team with no one averaging over 12 points per game.
Freshman Madelyn Stephen is posting a team-high 11.7 while shooting 49.9 percent from the floor while fellow freshman Emily Reinneck (10.7) and senior Hannah Krukewitt (10.1) are both above 10.
Krukewitt is pulling down a team-high 6.2 boards per game, and Lauren Eagleson is distributing 3.8 assists per game.
Since EC joined the SLIAC, Greenville holds a 14-13 edge in the series, but the Red Devils hold a 35-23 advantage all-time.
Heading into Wednesday night's home matchup against Spalding, Blackburn holds a 4-10 record and a 2-6 mark in the SLIAC.
On Dec. 4, the Red Devils opened their SLIAC slate with an emphatic 88-58 victory over the Beavers. It was EC's 17th straight win over their conference foe.
Marissa Murphy led the way with a career-high 22 points and six steals. The sophomore came off the bench and sot 8-for-13 from the floor and 4-for-5 from 3-point range, added three rebounds and dishes two assists.
Harfst posted a double-double of 11 points and 16 rebounds, and Hawkins added 11 as well.
Marisa Cline scored a team-high 16 for Blackburn. Savannah Kruse dropped 14 off the bench.
Kruse, a junior, leads the team with 14.3 points per game. Sophomore Lexie Black follows with 10, and Jenna Dudra and Maria Cline are just south of 10. Sophomore Callista Francis has averaged 9.8 rebounds per game in the past five game.
The Red Devils are looking to extend their winnings streak over the Beavers to 18 games.