Preview: Red Devils Gear Up For Spalding Trip Saturday

Photo courtesy of Bob Hunt.
Photo courtesy of Bob Hunt.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The Eureka College women's basketball team will take its longest annual St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference road trip Saturday when the Red Devils travel to downtown Louisville, Ky. for a noon CST matchup with Spalding.

PDF Version of Eureka Women's Basketball Game Notes

ABOUT EUREKA
Eureka will look to recover from its first SLIAC road loss in nearly 52 weeks after a 97-77 defeat at Webster Wednesday night in St. Louis. The decision ended EC's 10-game league win streak, tied for its longest since joining the conference prior to the 2006-07 season. The Red Devils are 14-6 overall, 10-2 in the SLIAC and trail preseason favorite Greenville by a single game for first place in the league standings.
 
Several current Red Devils are making their marks in the Eureka record book. Senior Hayley Reneau will enter Saturday's game with 476 points this season, seventh-most on the program's single-season list. She also has 64 3-pointers this season to rank fourth on the Red Devils' list and 82 steals, second-most in a season in prorgram history and 17 shy of tying Jamie While's 1993-94 record of 99.
 
Eureka's 28-year-old single-season assist record of 148 set by Deb Kessinger appears to be in jeopardy. Sophomore Kennedy Dura, who set a freshman program record for assists last season, ranks fourth on EC's single-season list and needs just 13 more assists to break Kessinger's mark. Senior Kerrigan Dura, who had 140 assists last season, ranks seventh this season with 120 assists.
 
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. 
 
TOURNAMENT TIDBITS
One more victory by the Red Devils over their final four regular-season contests will secure EC a spot in its seventh consecutive SLIAC Tournament. 
 
Eureka's current streak of six straight tournament bids is the league's longest active streak and the third-longest streak since the event returned with a four-team format in 2005.  Fontbonne made eight in a row from 2005 through 2012.
 
Greenville became the first team to clinch a spot in the 2018 tournament after its victory over Fontbonne on Wednesday.
 
SLIAC WIN STREAK SNAPPED WEDNESDAY AT WEBSTER
Eureka's longest St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win streak in program history came to a halt Wednesday in a 97-77 league defeat at Webster in St. Louis, Mo.
 
The hosts led 52-43 at halftime and put the game out of reach early in the second half by beginning the third quarter on a 15-2 burst. Eureka trailed 81-55 after 30 minutes.
 
Sarnes scored a game-high 22 points in her second collegiate start. Hayley Reneau  tallied 19, Lexi Dooley poured in 12 and Ashley Harfst scored 10 to give the visitors four starters in double figures. The Red Devils made nine 3-pointers, but went just 1-for-10 beyond the arc in the second half.
 
ABOUT SPALDING
Spalding is 8-12 overall, 6-6 in the league and finds itself in a battle for one of the four SLIAC Tournament bids. The Golden Eagles have won three of their last five games, alternating wins and losses since Jan. 20. SU's most recent outing was a 74-37 triumph over MacMurray on Wednesday, part of a three-game home win streak in Louisville.
 
Junior Alex Martin pours in 12.6 points per game to lead an SU offense that ranks sixth in the SLIAC with 63.8 points per game. Allison Just, a sophomroe guard, adds 9.9 points per night and sophomore Megan Goeing tallies 8.7 per game. The Golden Eagles' top rebounder is Lelanda Matthews at 7.2 rebounds per game. Matthews also leads the conference with 39 blocked shots.
 
The Golden Eagles lead the nine-team SLIAC with 4.2 blocked shots per game. SU also ranks second in the league with a plus-3.7 average rebound margin.
 
The Golden Eagles went 13-11 overall last season and 8-8 in SLIAC play to finish sixth in the league and miss the conference tournament for the first time since 2012. SU was picked to finish fifth in the SLIAC this season by league coaches in a preseason poll.
 
THE SERIES AGAINST SPALDING
The Golden Eagles dominated the early stages of the SLIAC series with EC, winning 11 of the first 14 meetings from January 2010 through December 2015. Eureka has recently turned the tables, claiming four victories in a row over Spalding since Jan. 27, 2016, including a 77-69 victory over SU at the Reagan Athletic Complex last month.
 
Eureka owns a 2-7 record against the Golden Eagles in Louisville. Last season's victory ended a string of five consecutive losses to SU at Derek Smith Gymnasium.
 
The two teams have met once in the SLIAC postseason, an 80-50 victory for the Golden Eagles in the 2015 championship game in Louisville.
 
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.
 
Charlie Just is in his 13th season as head coach at Spalding. The 1977 Ohio Northern graduate won back-to-back SLIAC Coach of the Year awards in 2014 and again in 2015.
 
Just owns four decades of coaching experience between the high school and collegiate levels and is nearing 700 overall victories. He owns previous collegiate experience at NCAA Division II Bellarmine, leading his squads to eight NCAA Tournaments and the 1994 Final Four.