Red Devils Upend Spalding For 100th SLIAC Win, 77-69

Photo courtesy of Michelle Curl.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Curl.

EUREKA, Ill. -- Four Eureka College women's basketball players scored in double figures, including a game-high 24 points from senior guard Hayley Reneau (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./Illinois Central), as the Red Devils secured their 100th regular-season St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory in a 77-69 triumph over Spalding, Wednesday night at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.

The Red Devils (8-5, 4-1 SLIAC) have won four straight league contests and are now 100-89 in regular-season SLIAC games since joining the league prior to the 2006-07 season. Eureka is the seventh women's basketball team in the league's 28-year history to reach 100 wins during the conference's annual round-robin schedule.

Wednesday's game was a seesaw contest, featuring seven tied scores and 14 lead changes. Neither side led by more than four points in the first half. The Red Devils jumped in front 12-8 at the midway point of the first quarter, but SU led 17-16 at the end of the period.

Spalding (4-9, 2-3 SLIAC) grabbed its four-point cushion on the first possession of the second quarter when Allison Just hit a 3-pointer for a 20-16 advantage. The two teams traded the lead five more times before intermission. Samantha Sarnes (Havana, Ill./Havana H.S.) connected from long range for a 33-31 Eureka lead with 2:23 to go in the quarter and the Red Devils ultimately had a 35-33 edge at the first-half horn.

Eureka pushed its lead to five points, 42-37, on a Reneau layup with 6:00 left in the third quarter, but SU answered with a 9-2 surge and moved in front 46-44 on Megan Goeing's trey at the 4:44 mark. The hosts recovered to lead 53-50 at the end of the period.

The visitors moved in front for the final time, 55-54, on two foul shots by Micaiah Bowden with 8:18 to play. EC seized the advantage for good just 68 seconds later when Kennedy Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) scored in the paint. Dura's bucket ignited a 13-2 EC run that culminated with the Red Devils' biggest lead of the night, 67-57, with 3:41 left.

The Golden Eagles answered with a run of seven in a row to inch to a 67-64 deficit, but Ashley Harfst's (Saunemin, Ill./Pontiac H.S.) layup on the ensuing EC possession allowed the Red Devils to lead by two possessions or more the rest of the way.

Kennedy Dura scored 19, Harfst tallied 15 and Kerrigan Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield H.S.) netted 10 to join Reneau in double-digit scoring. Kerrigan Dura distributed eight assists and gathered seven rebounds to lead EC in both categories. She didn't commit a turnover in 30 minutes of action. EC committed only 12 turnovers as a team and was solid at the charity stripe with an 18-for-21 team effort. Eureka has won four in a row over Spalding for the first time in the series' nine-year history.

Just led the Golden Eagles with 17 points. SU enjoyed a 48-29 advantage in rebounding, but the Red Devils outscored Spalding 30-20 in the paint.

The Red Devils will aim for five straight league wins when they visit Westminster next Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. in Fulton, Mo.