Posted: Jan 01, 2019
EUREKA -- Eureka will become the first St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference team to play its fourth league contest on the road when the Red Devils visit Webster Wednesday night for a 5:30 p.m. start in the St. Louis suburb of Webster Groves, Mo.
Two of the top programs in the SLIAC, Eureka and Webster will meet for the 32nd time Wednesday night. The Gorloks lead the all-time series 17-14, but the Red Devils have won four of the last six since January 2016. EC and WU have also met in three of the last six SLIAC Tournament semifinals.
Eureka is 4-6 overall and will be back in regular-season action for the first time in more than weeks. The Red Devils are also 1-3 against St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponents, earning their lone victory in a Dec. 15 triumph at Blackburn.
Kennedy Dura paces the Eureka offense with 12.1 points per game. She also leads the SLIAC and ranks 42nd nationally with 5.1 assists per game. Dura, who broke Eureka's single-season assist record as a sophomore last winter, is one of only eight players in program history with 300 career assists (316) and needs five more helpers to reach fifth place on the Red Devils' all-time list.
Ashley Harfst joins Dura as scorers in double figures with 11.4 points per contest. The active career Eureka leader in free throws (184) and free throw attempts (242), Harfst leads the SLIAC and ranks 10th in Division III this season with a 90.5 free-throw percentage (38-for-42). Harfst's effort allows the Red Devils to lead the nine-team SLIAC in free throw makes per game (15.8) and free throw attempts per game (22.5).
Eureka scores 71.1 points per contest on 37 percent shooting as a team. Eureka, which scored a season-high 93 points in a non-conference win over USCAA Robet Morris-Springfield on Nov. 15, has exceeded the 70-point plateau in three consecutive outings since Dec. 15.
Eureka returns two starters and three 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.
EUREKA CONTAINS ANDERSON AT THE REAGAN LAST MONTH
Kennedy Dura led Eureka with 16 points, Samantha Sarnes tacked on 15 points and the Red Devils led for all but 58 seconds in a 72-66 non-conference triumph over Anderson at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena and Convocation Center on Wednesday, Dec. 19.
Eureka did much of its damage at the free throw line, combining to go 23-for-29 as a team. Sarnes was perfect in six tries at the line and added six rebounds. Sierrah Seals added nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Dura distributed five assists and had three steals to share the team lead with Marissa Murphy.
Webster has an 8-3 overall record and is in fourth place of the current SLIAC standings with a 3-1 mark. WU downed St. Mary's (Ind.) 70-49 last Saturday in St. Louis and has won six of its last eight outings since Nov. 28.
The Gorloks lead or rank near the top spot in the SLIAC in several offensive categories, scoring 75.2 points per game on 44 percent shooting from the field. WU mades 14.4 free throws per game and crashes the offensive glass at a rapid rate, gathering a league-best 17.4 offensive rebounds per game.
Freshman forward Addison Beussink has appeared in all 11 games and leads WU with 11.8 points per game. Sophomore guard Naomi Johnson follows with 10.3 points on average. Five of the Gorloks' top seven scorers are freshmen.
The Webster defense causes fits for opponents. WU opponents commit 28.9 turnovers per game, fifth-most in Division III. The Gorloks' 180 steals as a team are second-most nationally. Eight different Gorloks average at least 1.5 steals per game, led by Jaysea Morgan's 3.3.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
Webster leads the all-time series with the Red Devils, 17-14. The two schools first met during the 1989-90 season, an 80-29 Eureka victory in St. Louis.
Webster won two out of three contests over Eureka last season. The Red Devils' lone win was a 79-68 triumph at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena and Convocation Center on Dec. 16, 2017. Ashley Harfst came off the bench for 19 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Red Devils shoot 46 percent 3-point range and go 18-for-23 at the foul line.
The Gorloks evened the season series last Jan. 31, a 97-77 win in St. Louis. Samantha Sarnes tallied 22 points for the visitors and Harfst added 10. The Red Devils made nine 3-pointers, but went just 1-for-10 beyond the arc in the second half.
WU won the rubber match, a 56-52 triumph in a SLIAC Tournament semifinal last Feb. 23. Harfst was named to the All-Tournament Team after scoring 20 points. Eureka trailed by one, produced two steals in the final three minutes and shot for the lead twice, but ultimately didn't score again. Kelsey Miller's layup moved WU's lead to 55-52 with 17 seconds left. EC got two looks at the basket in the closing seconds but couldn't find the bottom of the net.
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.
Jefferson City, Mo. native Jordan Olufson is in his 11th season as the head coach at Webster. Olufson guided the Gorloks to SLIAC Tournament titles and a berths in the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and 2018. His 11-year record at WU is 158-115 and he is the program's all-time winningest coach.
Olufson came to Webster after a stint as an assistant coach at Central Missouri. He played collegiately for Missouri Valley and Ashford before earning an undergraduate degree in sports and recreation management from AU in 2006 and a master's degree from Central Missouri.
FOLLOW THE ACTION ONLINE
Webster will provide a live online video broadcast and live statistics of Wednesday's game. Links will be available at EurekaRedDevils.com, WebsterAthletics.com, SLIAC.org and D3hoops.com.