Eureka Edges Golden Eagles, Completes Sweep at Spalding, 63-60

File photo.
File photo.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Playing their fourth game in five days, the Eureka women's basketball team went down to the wire at Spalding Thursday and came out on top, 63-60.

The win completed a season sweep of the Golden Eagles and marked the Red Devils' fourth win in the past five games.

Eureka is now 5-5 in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play and 9-11 on the season.

Senior forward Kennedy Jackson (Peoria, Ill./Limestone/Carl Sandburg) led the way with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. It was her second time reaching double-digit rebounds this season and second double-double as a Red Devil. She shot 7 of 10 from the field and 2 of 3 from the free-throw line.

Sydney Hannam (Canton, Ill./Canton/Spoon River) followed with 10 points while adding four rebounds and three steals.

Olivia Falls (Bloomington, Ill./Bloomington) notched nine points, eight rebounds and dished a team-high three assists, while Savanah Moore (Clinton, Ill./Mt. Pulaski/MacMurray) contributed nine points and seven rebounds, and Shakaya Rogers (Hanover, Mich./Concord/Glen Oaks) put up eight points and pulled down five boards.

Abby Stotler (Wyoming, Ill./Stark County/MacMurray) posted seven boards and six points. Marissa Murphy (Canton, Ill./Canton) had five points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Eureka outrebounded Spalding 53-40 and outshot the home team 39.1 percent to 30.3 percent.

Spalding led by as many as 11 points in the first half and held a seven-point lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, the Red Devils made their move. The maroon and gold shot 56.3 percent from the floor and outscored the Golden Eagles 24-16.

It started to swing when Moore caught fire two minutes into the second half.

First, the junior guard got a defensive rebound and hit a 3-pointer off an assist from Falls on the other end to trim the lead from eight to five. Then, she did it again following a rebound by Hannam to cut it two.

She followed that up with snatching a steal off the press and finishing a layup to tie the game at 36-36 with 7:11 left in the third quarter.

Spalding called timeout to regroup, but the Red Devils made the next three baskets to take a seven-point lead. By the end of the quarter, though, Spalding was only down one point.

The Golden Eagles stayed with EC for the first few minutes of the fourth. Little by little, however, the Red Devils inched ahead.

A Jackson layup here, a free throw and layup by Falls there, and Eureka was up five with a little over 2 1/2 minutes to play.

Spalding ended up scoring the next two baskets, with Mercedez Moore making a layup with 2:21 left and a steal and a layup by Natalie Fichter cutting the lead to one-point with 32 seconds left.

Spalding sent Stotler to the line to stop the clock and she made 1 of 2 foul shots to make it a two-point game.

That gave the Golden Eagles another chance, but it resulted in a missed shot off the drive by Fichter and a quick foul on Jackson. She made the first, but missed the second, giving Spalding one more chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer.

However, with time winding down, Kailey Reed dribbled down and missed a layup before time expired with the ball in Rogers' hands.

Eureka has now taken four of their past five challenges against the Golden Eagles.

The Red Devils' (9-11, 5-5 SLIAC) marathon week continues on Saturday with a home contest against Fontbonne (9-11, 5-5 SLIAC) at 1 p.m. inside Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena and Convocation Center.

The last time Eureka faced the Griffins, the Red Devils came back from down 19 points in the fourth quarter and won 80-75 in overtime. A win would complete the team's second sweep of the season.