Preview: Eureka Takes SLIAC Win Streak to Show Me State

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

FULTON, Mo. -- The Eureka College women's basketball team will put its four-game St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win streak on the line Wednesday at 6 p.m. in a road contest at Westminster in Fulton, Mo.

PDF Version of Eureka Women's Basketball Game Notes

Eureka is 8-5 through its first 13 games this season and has won four straight conference games for a 4-1 league mark and sole possession of second place in the current league standings. The Red Devils have won six of their last eight outings, including a 77-69 win over Spalding last Wednesday at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.
The Red Devils score 79.5 points per game to rank second among SLIAC teams and 13th in Division III. EC also leads the SLIAC with 8.3 3-pointers per game and ranks second in team field goal percentage (.425), team 3-point field goal percentage (.344) and free throw percentage (.714).
Kennedy Dura (6.5) and Kerrigan Dura (6.3) both rank among the national top eight in individual assists per game and the Red Devils' team average of 20.2 ranks fourth in the country.
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. 
Four Red Devils scored in double figures, including a game-high 24 points from Hayley Reneau, as the Red Devils secured their 100th regular-season SLIAC victory in a 77-69 triumph over Spalding, Wednesday night at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.
The Red Devils are now 100-89 in regular-season SLIAC games since joining the league prior to the 2006-07 season. Eureka is the seventh active 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. EC seized the advantage for good when Kennedy 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.
Kennedy Dura scored 19, Harfst tallied 15 and Kerrigan Dura 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.
Hayley Reneau's 24-point effort in last Wednesday's win over Spalding gave the Illinois Central transfer her second consecutive SLIAC Player of the Week award and her fourth weekly honor from the league this season.
The league leader in both scoring and steals this season, she added six steals, three assists, three blocks and was a perfect 5-for-5 at the charity stripe. Eureka has now claimed five of the SLIAC's first seven weekly honors this season.
Reneau will enter Saturday's game as the national leader with 119 field goals made this season. She also ranks third in the country with a 24.3 scoring average.
Westminster has dropped three of its last four games for a 6-6 overall record and a 3-2 SLIAC record. WC most recently suffered a 59-57 loss at Iowa Wesleyan on Saturday. Wednesday's contest is just the fourth home game of the season for the Blue Jays, who have won two in a row at home since Nov. 29.
Junior guard Kendahl Adams has started all 12 games for the Blue Jays and scores a team-high 17.0 point s per game. She is an 82 percent free throw shooter. Junior Mirrakohl Johnson and freshman Grace Archambault share the team rebounding lead and the second slot on the SLIAC leaderboard with 8.5 boards per contest. WC has been dominant on the glass this season, leading the SLIAC with a plus-11.4 rebounding margin per game.
After failing to win a regular season or tournament championship in their first 20 seasons as a charter member of the SLIAC, WC won the outright regular-season crown in four of the last seven seasons. WC won back-to-back SLIAC Tournament championships in 2012 and 2013, but missed the tournament field last season to end a streak of eight straight semifinal appearances.
The Blue Jays own a 22-7 record against the Red Devils in the all-time series that dates back to December 1995. The Blue Jays have won 13 of 15 meetings in Fulton.
Westminster won three of four non-conference meetings between 1995 and 2002 and is 19-6 against EC since becoming SLIAC rivals prior to the 2006-07 season. Eureka swept the league home-and-home series for the second time last season, including a 99-75 win at the Reagan Athletic Complex on Feb. 15, 2017 that clinched the outright SLIAC championship.
The two teams have met in three of Eureka's six SLIAC Tournament appearances. The Blue Jays topped EC in the 2012 championship game in Fulton, but Eureka returned the favor with a semifinal win in the 2015 semifinals in Louisville. WC won the third matchup the following season, a 2016 semifinal in Fulton.
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.
Like Arbogast, James Arnold is a SLIAC newcomer and began his first season as head coach of the Blue Jays in November. The 2001 Glenville State (W.V.) graduate was announced as the seventh head coach in Westminster history last May.
Prior to his arrival in Fulton, Arnold directed Central Methodist (Mo.) to a 79-45 record in four seasons (2011-15) as head coach. He was also head coach at NJCAA Highland (Kan.) and NJCAA North Central Missouri, as well as an assistant at NCAA Division I Southeast Missouri State over the previous two seasons.