Knox Holds Off Eureka, 70-57

File photo by Emma Tatro.
File photo by Emma Tatro.

GALESBURG, Ill. – The Eureka women's basketball team fell on the road to Knox 70-57 in its season-opening game on Tuesday.

Eureka's Marissa Murphy (Canton, Ill./Canton) tallied a team-high 16 points, matching her season-high from last spring. The senior point guard shot 6-for-11 from the field and 3-for-5 from distance and had two rebounds, two steals and an assist.

She was one of four Red Devils to reach double figures. Savanah Moore (Clinton, Ill./Mt. Pulaski) also matched her season-high from last season, adding 13 points, along with five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Olivia Falls (Bloomington, Ill./Bloomington) and Kennedy Jackson (Peoria, Ill./Limestone) both finished with 10 points and six rebounds while shooting 5-of-11 from the field.

Freshman Josie Ness (Sandwich, Ill./Sandwich) pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds and had four points in her collegiate debut. Sophomore Ariel Chism (Pekin, Ill./Pekin) contributed a career-high four points off the bench.

The Prairie Fire built a sizeable lead early on and had the upper hand throughout the night, but the Red Devils pushed to keep it competitive.

In the first quarter, the home team coupled an effective full-court press with red-hot shooting. The Prairie Fire shot 61.5 percent from the field to take an 18-9 lead after 10 minutes. Knox stayed hot in the second quarter, shooting 52.6 percent from the field and extending the lead to as many as 18.

Eureka trailed by 16 at halftime at 41-25, and the team was able to chip away at the lead after holding the Prairie Fire to just seven points in the third frame.

The Red Devils entered the fourth down 12 points. A 3-pointer by Moore with 6:36 left put the team within single digits for the first time since the first half, but that was as close as the team would come.

Knox managed to hold off EC by outscoring the team by just one point in the final 10 minutes.

By the end of the game, the Red Devils – whose roster was limited due to COVID-19 protocols – had managed to catch up with Knox in shooting, but the Prairie Fire made the difference in forced turnovers. The home team forced 26 to Eureka's 17 and tallied 22 points off turnovers to Eureka's eight.

Like Eureka, Knox had four players reach double figures: Sarina Dacio (13), Kristin Herndon (12), Saxon Alvarez (11) and Jessica Lee (10).

Eureka (0-1) will turn around and take on Monmouth (1-1) on the road in non-conference play on Wednesday at 7 p.m.