JACKSONVILLE, Ill. -- The Eureka College women's basketball team will play its first road contest in two weeks on Saturday when the Red Devils take the two-hour drive to Jacksonville, Ill. for a 1 p.m. St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tip-off at MacMurray. The game against the Highlanders is one of only two road contests for EC from Nov. 19 through Dec. 20 -- a 32-day stretch.
Preview: Eureka Looks For First League Win Saturday
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Posted: Dec 01, 2017
The Red Devils are 2-3 through the first five games and in search of their first league victory after suffering an 85-80 loss to Greenville on Wednesday at the Reagan Athletic Complex.
Four Red Devils score average at least 10.2 points per game, led by a 23.6 average from Hayley Reneau. Kennedy Dura is next with 12.6 points per game. Ashley Harfst, who made her first career start Wednesday against Greenville, averages 12.4 points primarily off the bench. Samantha Sarnes, who has come off the bench in all five games, pours in 10.2 points on average.
The Red Devils lead the SLIAC and rank third in Division III with 22.0 assists per game. Kennedy Dura's 8.2 assists per game are second-most in the nation, trailing only Muhlenberg's Brandi Vallely and her 9.8 average for the Division III lead. Kerrigan Dura ranks sixth in the country with 7.6 assists per contest. Eureka is the only NCAA school in any Division to have two players that are averaging at least 7.6 assists.
Kerrigan Dura is also the Red Devils' top rebounder. Supported by the only triple-double in program history on Nov. 15, Dura is averaging 6.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 7.6 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.
GREENVILLE OVERCOMES EUREKA WEDNESDAY
Ashley Harfst earned her first collegiate double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds and Kennedy Dura put up a double-double of her own with 16 points and 11 assists, but visiting Greenville broke a 74-74 tie with 3:52 left in the fourth quarter en route to an 85-80 triumph over the Red Devils in Wednesday's SLIAC opener at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.
Eureka led 49-37 at halftime and 66-63 after three quarters. The Panthers pulled even, 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. Kerrigan Dura got EC back within a point, but GU hit another 3 from Jantzen Michael with 2:30 to go to lead 80-76. Eureka wouldn't get another possession with the opportunity to tie the game.
Samantha Sarnes scored a career-high 17 points. Kerrigan Dura led the Red Devils with 12 rebounds. Kennedy Dura had 11 assists for the second consecutive outing. Reneau led EC with 19 points and had eight steals.
MacMurray will enter Saturday's game with a share of first place in the current league standings after earning a 76-62 victory at Blackburn last Wednesday. The Highlanders are 2-4 overall, securing their other victory in an 83-69 decision over NCCAA Central Christian (Mo.) on Nov. 18. Non-conference losses, all suffered by 16 points or more, have come versus Illinois College, Millikin, Knox and Monmouth.
The Highlanders were picked eighth in a preseason SLIAC coaches' poll. Only three letterwinners return from last season's team that went 3-21 overall and 1-15 in conference action last season.
Senior guard Liz Kruemmelbein is the Highlanders' leading scorer through five games, pouring in 15.0 points per game. Freshman Shelby Fink adds 13.3 points per night and freshman Maddie Dalton score 10.2. Kruemmelbein is also the leading rebounder with 6.2 on average and sophomore Emily Kolo hauls down 5.2 rebounds per game.
The Highlanders lead the nine-team SLIAC with 72.4 field goal attempts per game, but make only 22.8 of their attempts to rank last in the league with a team percentage of 31.5. MC also struggles at the free throw line, making 59 percent of its attempts.
MacMurray joins Blackburn, Fontbonne and Webster as active charter members of the SLIAC. MC won back-to-back regular-season league titles in 1995 and 1996 and the 1996 SLIAC Tournament crown, but hasn't qualified for the league's annual postseason tournament since 2006.
THE SERIES VERSUS MacMURRAY
Eureka has dominated the series with the Highlanders, owning a 42-5 record in the series since 1983. The Red Devils have won 14 in a row over the Highlanders since MacMurray swept the home-and-home series in the 2009-10 season.
Additionally, the Red Devils are 19-3 against the Highlanders in Jacksonville, having won 16 of their last 17 contests at Bill Wall Gymnasium since the 1989-90 season.
Last season in Jacksonville, Eureka scored the first 15 points of the game on its way to a big 83-42 win on Jan. 7, 2017. Lexi Dooley put up a game-high 15 points. Kerrigan Dura finished the contest with 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists. The victory marked Eureka's largest margin of victory over MacMurray since a 102-61 triumph over the Highlanders at the Reagan Athletic Complex during the 1992-93 season.
MEET THE HEAD COACHES
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.
Derek James is the head coach at MacMurray. His five-year record on the MC bench is 18-88.
The Port Byron, Ill. native is a 2004 graduate of MacMurray and a member of the school's athletics hall of fame. He was a three-time All-SLIAC choice in men's basketball for the Highlanders and owns the all-time program record with 228 3-pointers. He was also a standout golfer at MC, earning SLIAC Player of the Year honors as in 2003.