FULTON, Mo. – Westminster women's basketball team pulled away from Eureka late and earned an 88-76 win over the Red Devils at Historic Gymnasium on Saturday.
Two Red Devils recorded career scoring highs in the loss.
Sophomore Olivia Falls (Bloomington, Ill./Bloomington) racked up 30 points and eight rebounds on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor and 18-of-21 shooting from the free-throw line, surpassing her previous career high of 24, which she set at Knox earlier this season.
With two more made free throws, Falls would have tied Caty Eeten for most free throws made in a single game. Eeten, who was inducted in to the EC Hall of Fame this past fall, put away 20 against Greenville on Nov. 30, 2011.
Senior Ja'Keesha Hawkins (Peoria, Ill./Peoria) finished with a career-high 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting from the field and making a pair of 3-pointers, surpassing her previous career high of 18 against MacMurray at Jan. 4.
Ashley Harfst (Saunemin, Ill./Pontiac) posted a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Saturday's contest was a game of big runs and wild momentum swings.
The Blue Jays jumped out to a 16-4 lead but EC came back within five by the end of the first quarter.
Then, in the second quarter, the Red Devils went on tear, putting up 26 points while making 2/3 of their shots from the field. Hawkins notched 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting in six minutes alone, and the maroon and gold went into halftime with a three-point edge.
The third quarter was more evenly-matched as both teams cooled down and had to grind for points. The Red Devils repeatedly leaned on Falls to come through down low and capitalize at the stripe. They led by as many as nine and took a six-point lead into the final frame.
The Blue Jays scored a quick basket by Rei Immaura to start the fourth and make it a four-point game. After trading baskets – and foul shots – for the next possessions, a pair of free throws by Abbie Reece with 5:46 left cut the lead to two points.
Eureka's Kennedy Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield) then drilled a 30-foot 3-pointer with 4:53 left to give the Red Devils some breathing room, but Reece answered with a triple of her own on the other end
Successive pairs of free throws by Mikalyn Callahan and Kalee Dowler soon gave Westminster the lead, and the Blue Jays never looked back from there. By the time the fourth quarter was over, the home team had outscored Eureka 30-12.
Dowler finished with a team-high 25 for the Blue Jays, while Reece and Callahan contributed 16 apiece.
Eureka (11-8, 7-5 SLIAC) will look to rebound at MacMurray (5-14, 3-9 SLIAC) on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.