Preview: Red Devils Go For 10th Straight SLIAC Win Saturday

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

EUREKA, Ill. -- The Eureka College women's basketball team will try to match its longest St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win streak in program history Saturday when the Red Devils host Blackburn at 1 p.m. at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena. Since dropping the SLIAC opener on Nov. 29, Eureka has won nine consecutive league contest.

PDF Version of Eureka Women's Basketball Game Notes

The Red Devils are 13-5 overall and 9-1 in the SLIAC to share first place in the league standings with preseason favorite Greenville. EC has won six consecutive games overall and 11 of their last 13 since the beginning of December. Eureka hit 15 3-pointers, one short of a single-game program record, in its 96-71 win over MacMurray on Wednesday.
Boasting the SLIAC's top-ranked scoring offense, EC pours in 81.6 points per game on the shoulders of an excellent perimeter attack. The Red Devils make a league-best 8.7 3-pointers per game and also lead the nine-team SLIAC in defensive rebounds per game (31.7), assists per game (20.7), field goal percentage defense (.355) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (.271).
The trio of Hayley Reneau, Ashley Harfst and Kennedy Dura each score at least 12.3 points per game to lead the high-powered offense. Reneau's 57 3-pointers are already sixth-most in a season in program history. With at least seven games left on the schedule, Kennedy Dura and sister Kerrigan are the first set of teammates in program history to have at least 110 assists in the same season.
Eureka's 13-5 record matches last season's mark through 18 games. It's Eureka's best start to a season since the 2011-12 team won 15 of its first 18 games.
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. 
Lexi Dooley tied a single-game program record with 22 rebounds and junior guard Samantha Sarnes poured in a career-high 26 points off the bench, leading the Red Devils to a 96-71 SLIAC victory over MacMurray on Wednesday night at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.
Dooley's 22 rebounds equaled the single-game Eureka record held by Nicole Fisher, who hauled 22 boards against Blackburn on Dec. 5, 2007 and again versus Lincoln Christian on Feb. 26, 2008. Dooley's effort marked just the eighth 20-rebound game in program history.
Hayley Reneau led all scorers with 28 points and went 17-for-19 from the foul line, three makes shy of tying Caty Eeten's single-game Eureka record of 20 free throws set against Greenville on Nov. 30, 2011. Sarnes tallied 26 on nine field goals and Kennedy Dura scored 15. Eureka hit a season-high 15 3-pointers, one short of its single-game program record of 16 set versus Blackburn on Jan. 17, 2015. The Red Devils also went 29-for-34 at the free throw line Wednesday.
Blackburn will enter Saturday's matchup with a 2-16 overall record and is winless in the SLIAC at 0-10. The Beavers put the brakes on a 15-game skid last Tuesday in a 68-46 win over USCAA Robert Morris-Springfield on Tuesday. Both of Blackburn's victories in 2017-18 were against RMU, including a 61-46 opening-win in Carlinville. 
Twelve different players have appeared in at least 10 games and nine players have made at least one start. Freshman guard Kate Smith is the only BC player to score in double figures, netting 10.9 point sper contest. She averages nearly six 3-point attempts per game. Freshman Savannah Kruse is next with 7.9 points per game and junior Gariel Pierce is the squad's best rebounder with 9.1 per game.
BC has lost eight consecutive road games against NCAA Division III opponents since its last win away from Carlinville, a 58-57 victory over MacMurray on Feb. 1, 2017.
Blackburn is in search of its first winning season since going 15-12 and advancing the to the SLIAC Tournament championship game in 2009-10.
Eureka topped the Beavers in Carlinville earlier this season, 71-54, the 13th consecutive EC win in the series. The Red Devils scored the first 13 points and held the Beavers scoreless until the 4:57 mark of the first quarter. EC led by as many as 17 in the opening period. Hayley Reneau scored a game-high 19 points for the visitors. Kennedy Dura tallied 15 and Samantha Sarnes added 13 points.
The Red Devils are 44-14 against BC since 1983, including a 23-6 mark at the Reagan Athletic Complex. The Beavers' last win in the series wa a 71-66 overtime win at the old Reagan Center on Feb. 16, 2011.
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.
Dr. James Chandler is in his first season as head coach at Blackburn. The 1992 Blackburn graduate won more than 200 games as a high school coach in the state of Missouri prior to his appointment at his alma mater. He is in search of his first SLIAC victory.
Chandler played three years of varsity basketball from 1986-1990.  As a player he was named to the all-conference team and also traveled to New Zealand as a member of the National Little College Athletic Association All-Star Team.