EUREKA, Ill. -- Two NCAA Division III institutions separated by just 26 miles will meet for the first time in more than 10 years when the Eureka College women's basketball team welcomes Illinois Wesleyan Monday night for a 7 p.m. tip-off at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.
Preview: Eureka Ready to Renew Illinois Wesleyan Rivalry Monday
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Posted: Dec 03, 2017
Eureka will aim to move over the .500 mark and earn its second consecutive victory after a 103-73 rout of MacMurray on Saturday in Jacksonville, Ill. The Red Devils are 3-3 overall through the first six games and 1-1 against St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponents after splitting the first two games of the league schedule last week.
Hayley Reneau scores 25.7 points per game to lead the Red Devils' high-powered offensive attack. Nearly a quarter of the way through the season, Eureka's 84.8 points per game are on pace to break the program's single-season scoring record. The Red Devils shoot 43 percent as a team.
Kennedy Dura has added 13.7 points and 8.5 assists per game, while Ashley Harfst (12.3) and Samantha Sarnes (10.3) give first-year head coach Amos Arbogast four scorers in double figures on average.
Eight letterwinners return from Eureka's 20-win team that swept the the SLIAC regular season and tournament championships and went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Seven of the returnees played in at least 27 games and four started at least 14 contests.
RED DEVILS CRUISE AT MacMURRAY SATURDAY
Hayley Reneau tallied a game-high 36 points, Kennedy Dura reached double figures in assists for the third time in the last 12 days and Ashley Harfst hauled down a career-high 11 rebounds in the Red Devils' 103-73 SLIAC win at MacMurray on Saturday afternoon in Jacksonville, Ill.
Eureka's 103 points Saturday marked the first time the Red Devils reached the century mark in 12 seasons as a member of the SLIAC.
The Red Devils led from wire to wire on Saturday. The visitors' advantage reached 86-55 at the end of the third quarter. Reneau's layup with 7:57 left gave Eureka its largest lead, 94-59.
Reneau was 12-for-16 from the floor, 5-for-8 from 3 and 7-for-9 from the free throw line. Dura poured in 19 and dished out 10 assists. Harfst also logged a double-double with 12 points and 11 boards. Samantha Sarnes scored 11 off the bench. Eureka hit 13 3-pointers and was credited with 28 assists.
ABOUT ILLINOIS WESLEYAN
A perennial power in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, Illinois Wesleyan will bring a 4-2 record to the Reagan Athletic Complex on Monday. The Titans, picked to win the CCIW in a preseason coaches' poll, were receiving votes in last weekend's D3hoops.com Top 25 poll.
IWU won its league opener on Saturday, a 77-68 win over Carthage in Bloomington. The Titans have also earned victories over Colorado College, Chicago and Rose Hulman. Illinois Wesleyan also picked up an exhibition road win over Division II Quincy on Nov. 5.
Maddie Merritt puts up 14.2 points per game to lead the Titans in scoring. Molly McGraw, a preseason D3hoops.com All-American, follows with 12.8 points on average and Rebekah Ehresman gives the Titans three players in double figures with 11.8 points per game. Sydney Shanks collects a team-high 5.5 rebounds per game.
IWU scores 75.2 points per game as a team and has outscored its opponents by an average of 9.0 points per contest. The Titans shoot 40 percent from the floor as a team 80 percent at the free throw line.
The Titans joined Eureka as Division III schools from the state of Illinois to qualify for last season's NCAA Tournament. IWU received an at-large bid and lost its first-round game to Trine (Ind).
THE SERIES VERSUS ILLINOIS WESLEYAN
Monday's matchup is the 40th in women's basketball between Eureka and Illinois Wesleyan. The Titans lead the series, 24-15, and won the most recent meeting in a 90-40 decision in Bloomington on Nov. 20, 2007.
IWU has won nine of the last 10 bouts against Eureka since Dec. 8, 1998. The Red Devils are in search of their first win over IWU since a 55-50 victory at the old Reagan Center on Dec. 9, 2003 -- also their last victory over any CCIW opponent. Eureka suffered an 82-73 setback to Millikin of the CCIW last week.
MEET THE HEAD COACHES
Amos Arbogast is in his first season as head coach of the Red Devils. He was selected as the 12th head coach in program history on July 6, 2017.
Arbogast had previously served the EC men's basketball program as an assistant coach for six seasons and played pivotal role as an assistant for a program that has proved to be an annual contender in the SLIAC. Arbogast helped guide the Red Devils to consecutive berths to the SLIAC Tournament semifinals in 2012 and 2013, including an appearance in the title game in 2013.
Mia Smith is in her 20th season as head coach at Illinois Wesleyan. She is the winningest coach in program history, piloting the Titans to six CCIW titles, seven NCAA Tournament bids and the 2012 national championship. Her record on the IWU sideline is 368-161 and she is a five-time CCIW Coach of the Year.
Prior to her appointment at Illinois Wesleyan, Smith coached volleyball and softball at Monmouth. Smith graduated from SIUE in 1986 and was a four-year letterwinner in basketball and softball for the Cougars.
FOLLOW THE ACTION ONLINE
Eureka will provide a live video broadcast and live statistics of Monday's game. Links to both services will be available at EurekaRedDevils.com, sliac.org and D3hoops.com.