Red Devils Top Principia, Win Third Straight, 86-68

File photo.
File photo.

ELSAH, Ill. – The Eureka women's basketball team has now won three games in a row for the first time this season.

The Red Devils went on the road on Monday and handled an energetic Principia squad 86-68 in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action.

The win came after Eureka bested Spalding 68-57 at home on Sunday and held off Blackburn 69-63 on the road last Tuesday. It moved the Red Devils to 4-4 in league play and 8-10 on the season.

Senior Olivia Falls (Bloomington, Ill./Bloomington) posted a double-double, tallying 13 points and 11 rebounds, along with three assists, while shooting 5-for-9 from the field.

Falls, who was honored on Sunday for recently reaching 1,000 career points, reached the 700-rebound career milestone and moved into sixth in program history with 709, surpassing Lisa Byard's 701. She is now only the fifth player in EC program history to record both 1,000 points and 700 rebounds.

Junior transfer Sydney Hannam (Canton, Ill./Canton/Spoon River) recorded double figures for the third straight game, dropping a team-high 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting. She made 2 of 3 from behind the arc and added three rebounds and three assists.

Senior guard Shakaya Rogers (Hanover, Mich./Concord/Glen Oaks) followed with an efficient 15 points in 14 minutes off the bench. She was 4-for-5 from the field and 7-for-8 from the free-throw line.

Fellow senior guard Marissa Murphy (Canton, Ill./Canton) contributed nine points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.

Josie Ness (Sandwich, Ill./Sandwich), Abby Stotler (Wyoming, Ill./Stark County), Kennedy Jackson (Peoria, Ill./Limestone/Carl Sandburg) and Madison Jernigan (Bartonville, Ill./Limestone/Blackburn) each had seven points.

Ness, a freshman, tied her previous career high in points, gathered nine rebounds, had a pair of block and one assist. Stotler, a junior, also grabbed eight boards and had an assist.

The Red Devils outrebounded the home team 52-38 and received 38 points from its bench.

The Panthers fought to keep Eureka from turning it into a blowout in the first half. Eureka jumped out to a 10-2 lead, but Principia cut it to three late in the first frame. A bank off the drive by Rogers at the buzzer gave the Red Devils a 26-20 lead heading into the second quarter.

In the second, Eureka led by as many as 12 and went into halftime up by nine at 41-32.

The Panthers' last run at keeping it competitive came early in the second half. The home team scored the first five points of the half to quickly make it a four-point game. After EC called timeout to regroup, Hannam got to the free-throw line and made both fouls shots to make it a six-point game, but a layup by Principia's Tyliah Williams made it 43-40 with 7:51 left.

The Red Devils responded by going on a 12-3 run and outscoring the Panthers 23-8 the rest of the quarter. Eureka held an 18-point heading into the fourth quarter and extended it to as many as 25 down the stretch. 

Four Panthers reached double figures for the home team. Caroline Rojas notched a game-high 17 points, followed by Raina Bryant (15), Paige Fowler (14) and Aaliyah Scott (13).

On Wednesday at 5:30, the Red Devils (8-10, 4-4) will go on the road to play their third game in four days against undefeated SLIAC leader Webster (18-0, 9-0 SLIAC).