Fontbonne Edges Eureka, 68-59

Photo by Dacia Le.
Photo by Dacia Le.

EUREKA – The Eureka women's basketball team ended up on the wrong side of a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference duel with Fontbonne on Tuesday.

The Red Devils had a one-point advantage going into the fourth quarter, but Fontbonne hit six 3-pointers in the final frame and pulled just out of reach, winning 68-59.

Abby Stotler (Wyoming, Ill./Stark County) scored a team-high 20 points on 9-of-21 shooting for the Red Devils and had 10 rebounds and four steals.

Olivia Falls (Bloomington, Ill./Bloomington) also double-doubled with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Marissa Murphy (Canton, Ill./Canton) added 13 points and three steals. Shakaya Rogers (Hanover, Mich./Concord) contributed seven points off the bench.

Whitney Bozarth (Normal, Ill./Normal West) gathered five rebounds, made three steals and had two assists. Alaina Vance (Camp Point, Ill./Central) had four rebounds and three assists.

Seniors Abby Hahn (Kinmundy, Ill./South Central) and Seairah Moore (Clinton, Ill./Mount Pulsaski) each made their first start of the season on senior night.

The game was a back-and-forth affair for most of the night. The Red Devils never trailed by more than five in the first half.

A layup by Rogers following a steal by Bozarth gave the team a two-point edge after the first quarter. After Fontbonne made back-to-back layups to make it a five-point lead in the last two minutes of the half, the Red Devils cut it to three before halftime. A Murphy steal set up the Red Devils for the last possession. Vance passed to a cutting Stotler, who threw it in the air before Fontbonne could get a jump ball called, and Falls grabbed it and put it away just before the buzzer.

In the third quarter, Fontbonne briefly stretched the lead to eight, but a 12-3 run put EC back on top following a steal and fast-break layup by Rogers with 3:33 left. The Griffins took a timeout and scored the next five points, but a layup by Falls and a three-point play by Murphy gave EC a 43-42 edge heading into the fourth.

It was anyone's game in the final frame's early going. Murphy and Stotler each hit big 3s to put EC up four with less than five minutes to go.

However, Fontbonne's Rylee Stafford knocked down four straight 3-point attempts to give the Griffins the upper hand, and Jillian Venegas hit one late, too. Stafford finished with a game-high 27 points with six 3-pointers, while Venegas added 13 with three. All told, Fontbonne hit 13 3-pointers, with 10 coming in the second half.

 The Red Devils (4-4, 3-2 SLIAC) will look to bounce back at Greenville (4-9, 2-3 SLIAC) on Friday at 5:30 p.m. Eureka fell just short of taking down Greenville in a non-conference overtime thriller to open the season.