Preview: Red Devils Eager For SLIAC Showdown at Greenville

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

GREENVILLE, Ill. -- The top spot in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings is at stake Saturday when the Eureka College women's basketball team takes the 150-mile trip south to unbeaten league leader Greenville for a 1 p.m. SLIAC tip-off.

PDF Version of Eureka Women's Basketball Game Notes

Eureka continued its solid play in Wednesday's 77-68 win at Fontbonne, the Red Devils' fourth straight win, their seventh consecutive league triumph and the ninth victory in their last 11 outings since Dec. 2. EC is 11-5 overall and 7-1 in conference play at the midway point of its league schedule to trail Greenville by one game in the loss column for first place in the SLIAC standings.
The Red Devils will enter Saturday's game ranked among the national leaders in a handful of statistical categories. Wednesday's 27-assist effort increased Eureka's season total to 326, second-most in Division III. The Red Devils' 20.3 assists per game rank third nationally. Also, Eureka is one of only 10 teams in Division III to score at least 80 points per game, checking in 10th with an 80.3 average. EC also ranks 10th in 3-pointers per game (8.4), 14th in defensive rebounds per game (31.0), 25th in 3-point field percentage (35.5) and 36th in field goal percentage (43.1).
Hayley Reneau ranks second nationally with a scoring average of 24.0 points per game. Kerrigan Dura's 110 assists are second-most in the country, while sister Kennedy Dura ranks eighth with 110. Kerrigan is also the Red Devils' top rebounder (9.3) and is the only player in the country to average at least 9.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game.
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. 
Hayley Reneau poured in 30, senior guard Kerrigan Dura earned a double-double with a career-high 15 rebounds with 11 assists and sophomore guard Kennedy Dura also logged a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists, driving the Red Devils to a 77-68 SLIAC win at Fontbonne, Wednesday night in St. Louis, Mo.
Eureka trailed by 10 in the first quarter, but recovered with a 35-18 run to lead 39-32 at halftime. A Kennedy Dura 3-pointer extended Eureka's lead to 12, 66-54, less than a minute into the final quarter. Fontbonne was able to whittle its deficit back to eight with 3:42 to go, but missed its next three field goal attempts and a pair of free throws to stifle the comeback bid.
Reneau hit a career-high seven 3-pointers Wednesday, joining Brittany Gardner and Emily Camden as the only players in program history to make at least seven triples in a game. She finished 10-for-21 from the floor and 7-for-14 from beyond the arc. Ashley Harfst tacked on 18 points Wednesday. The Red Devils recorded assists on 27 of their 30 baskets.
Kerrigan Dura's 11 assists Wednesday at Fontbonne increased her career total to 358 and allowed her to move in front of Jamie While (1990-94) for second place on the Red Devils' all-time list. The late Molly Hardesty owns Eureka's career assists record with 415. 
Additionally, Dura's 2017-18 season total of 110 assists is already tied for seventh in EC's single-season list.
The Panthers are 12-3 overall and the final remaining unbeaten team in the SLIAC with a perfect 7-0 mark. GU protected its unblemished conference record Wednesday with an 81-79 win at Webster. Greenville is 4-1 at home this season and hasn't lost a SLIAC game in H.J. Long Gymnasiun since falling to the Red Devils on Jan. 11 of last season, 66-49.
Like the Red Devils, GU boasts one of the nation's best offenses. The Panthers rank 11th nationally in scoring offense with 79.8 points per game and make their shots at a 48.0 percent clip, the second-highest mark in Division III. Greenville is especially dangerous from 3-point range, owning the nation's top team percentage at 42.5. The Panthers make 7.4 triples per game, third-most in the SLIAC.
Three Panthers score in double figures, all of which shoot better than 52 percent from the floor. Senior forward Laura Goodnight, who has only played five games this season and returned from injury on Jan. 3, leads the way with 13.0 points per game. Junior forward Wesley Woodard adds 12.6 points on average and senior guard Maria Reinhard adds 11.6. Sophomore forward Morgan St. James is the top rebounder at 6.1 per game.
Greenville was picked to win the SLIAC this season, returning three starters from last season's team that went 23-9 overall and 12-4 in conference action. The Panthers finished second in the league a year ago behind the Red Devils both in the regular season and the tournament.
Eureka is 34-21 in the series with GU since 1983, including a 14-11 record on the road against the Panthers. EC has won 10 of the last 14 against Greenville since November 2011, including last season's SLIAC Tournament championship game.
Greenville dealt the Red Devils their only SLIAC loss of the season on Nov. 29, an 85-80 decision at the Reagan Athletic Complex that served as the league opener opener for both teams. Eureka led by as many as 14, but the Panthers pulled even again, 74-74, when Megan Barrett split a pair of free throws with 5:00 left in regulation. Brittany Lopez gave GU the lead just 68 seconds later with a 3-pointer and the Panthers led the rest of the way.
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.
The 2017-18 season is Roy Mulholland's 19th as head coach at Greenville. The 1986 Greenville graduate is 259-232 overall. His teams have been to the SLIAC Tournament six times since the league adopted a four-team field in 2005 and his 2015-16 squad won the tournament championship.