EUREKA -- Eureka will begin the home portion of the 16-game St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference schedule Saturday when the Red Devils welcome Westminster for a 1 p.m. league tip-off at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena and Convocation Center.
Preview: Red Devils to Host Westminster Saturday
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Posted: Dec 07, 2018
Saturday's game is Eureka's first at home since Nov. 17 and its fourth of five home games before breaking for the holidays. It's also Eureka's final conference home game until MacMurray visits on Saturday, Jan. 12.
The Red Devils have a 2-4 overall record and an 0-2 mark against SLIAC opponents. Eureka has earned non-league wins over USCAA Robert Morris-Springfield (93-54) on Nov. 15 and Rockford (82-53) on Nov. 17. EC has dropped league contests on the road to reigning league champion Greenville (82-57) and Spalding (80-68).
Eureka scores 70.3 points per game on 37 percent shooting. The Red Devils' 32 percent team 3-point field goal percentage ranks third among SLIAC teams, as does their 67 percent effort at the free throw line. Junior guards Ashley Harfst (11.7) and Kennedy Dura (10.5) average double-digit point production at the offensive end. Dura also distributed 4.5 assists per game and ranks eighth in program history with 292 career assists.
Senior Lexi Dooley collects 10.8 rebounds per contest to lead the team, followed by 7.0 boards per game from freshman Olivia Falls.
Eureka returns three starters and five letterwinners from last season's 18-win team that went to the SLIAC Tournament semifinals for the seventh consecutive season. The Red Devils were picked fifth in a preseason SLIAC poll conducted by league head coaches.
SPALDING DOWNS RED DEVILS LAST SATURDAY IN LOUISVILLE
Eureka dropped an 80-68 SLIAC bout at Spalding last Saturday afternoon at Columbia Gym in Louisville, Ky.
Olivia Falls paced the Eureka offense with 13 points. She added eight rebounds. Sierrah Seals scored 10 points and shared the team lead with four assists in her first collegiate start. Lexi Dooley logged 10 rebounds.
Westminster is 7-1 through its first eight games and downed Iowa Wesleyan (78-55) and Blackburn (77-53) for a perfect 2-0 start in conference action. The Blue Jays are less than 48 hours removed from a huge non-conference victory, a 70-68 upset of national powerhouse Washington (Mo.) Thursday in Fulton. The Blue Jays' only loss of the campaign was an 80-59 setback on opening night at Illinois College.
The Blue Jays score 75.3 points per game and are one of the league's most dangerous teams from beyond the arc, connecting on a league-best 9.1 3-pointers per game. WC also generates plenty of second chances, recording 17.0 offensive rebounds per game en route to lead the conference with 45.8 overall rebounds per game and a plus-12.9 rebounding margin.
Fifth-year senior Kendahl Adams scores 17.9 points per game, followed by senior Mirrakohl Johnson with 16.3 points on average and sophomore Kallee Dowler with 12.1. Adams also leads the conference with 60 defensive rebounds.
Westminster has won the outright SLIAC regular-season crown in four of the last eight seasons. WC won back-to-back SLIAC Tournament championships in 2012 and 2013 and has qualified for the tournament's semifinal round in nine of the last 10 seasons.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
The Red Devils and Blue Jays will collide for the 32nd time Saturday afternoon. WC owns a 22-9 record in the series, but the Red Devils have won four in a row over Westminster and five of the last eight, including a win in the 2015 SLIAC Tournament semifinals.
Eureka will try to make if five wins in a row over WC after sweeping last season's home-and-home series. The Red Devils took down the Blue Jays 90-84 in overtime last Jan. 10 in Fulton. All five Eureka starters scored in double figures, led by a career-high 26 points from Ashley Harfst thanks to 9-for-12 shooting. Lexi Dooley tallied 14 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double.
One month later at the Reagan Athletic Complex, Kennedy Dura poured in a career-high 23 points and Samantha Sarnes scored 19 points off the bench to drive the Red Devils to an 81-75 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over Westminster last Feb. 10. Harfst reached double figures with 12 points and Dooley netted 11.
MEET THE HEAD COACHES
Amos Arbogast is in his second season directing the Red Devils. The 2006 Iowa graduate directed Eureka to 18 wins last season, the most victories by a first-year EC head coach since Hall of Famer Sandy Schuster piloted EC to a 19-7 mark in 1991-92.
Arbogast, who served the Eureka men's basketball program as an assistant for six seasons prior to his appointment, welcomed nine newcomers to the program for the 2018-19 campaign.
James Arnold is in his second season at Westminster. The 2001 Glenville State (W.V.) directed the Blue Jays to the SLIAC Tournament championship game last February.
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.
FOLLOW THE ACTION ONLINE
Eureka will provide a live online video broadcast and live real-time statistics of Saturday's game. Links will be available at EurekaRedDevils.com, SLIAC.org and D3hoops.com.