ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The Eureka women are looking to start a win streak on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. That's when they'll tip off in a road showdown against St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference adversary Fontbonne.
This will be the Red Devils' 31st meeting with the Griffins – and an opportunity to come within one win in the all-time series. Fontbonne currently holds a 16-14 edge in wins.
Eureka will enter this contest 5-7 on the season and 2-4 in the conference. The Red Devils split their first two games of 2019, falling to Webster 79-62 in SLIAC play last Wednesday and capturing a dominant 72-46 non-conference win over Principia on Saturday.
The Panthers kept it competitive for a while, but EC took over and pulled away with a 15-0 run in the second half. Senior and leading scorer Samantha Sarnes (12.2 points per game) led the Red Devils with a game-high 19 points, a career-high seven rebounds and three assists.
Dura, who contributed eight assists and five steals in the win, is second in the SLIAC in assists (61) and fourth in steals (33). The junior guard from Edwards, Illinois, is the team's leading scorer (11.6 points per game) in conference play and best shooter from long range (40.7 percent).
Morgan (10.2) and Harfst (10) both average double figures as well, while freshman Olivia Falls leads the team in both field goal percentage (51.5) and rebounds (6.2).
Eureka returns two starters and three letterwinners from last season's 18-win team, which 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.
Like Eureka, Fontbonne is coming into Wednesday night on the heels of an encouraging win. The Griffins improved to 5-8 and 2-3 in the SLIAC with a 71-55 victory over Blackburn on Saturday.
The team had a slightly less than average shooting night but compensated by forcing 22 turnovers en route to the win. The Griffins have shot 38.4 percent from the floor this season while putting up 69.3 points per game – just over a point less than Eureka.
On Saturday, leading scorer Rylee Stafford (15.2 points per game) posted a game-high 20 points – her third 20-point performance of the past four games.
Raven Venegas and Paige Black are the team's other two top scorers. They average 11.1 and nine points per game, respectively.
Fontbonne ruled this series early on, but Eureka has had the firm upper hand for quite a while now. After dropping 13 of the first 14 meetings, Eureka has been on the winning end in 13 of the last 16, including four of the last five.
Last year, Dura delivered a double-double in the first conference clash, posting 15 points and 10 assists as the Red Devils held off the Griffins 77-68.
A month later, though, they blew them away in a 78-50 rout on Senior Day.
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.
Maureen Sias is in her fifth season at the helm for Fontbonne. In 2016-17, she guided the Griffins to the SLIAC Tournament for the first time since 2012. Before she was the head coach, Sias was an assistant for five years, and she played for Fontbonne from 1999-2003.
She holds Fontbonne women's basketball records in career free-throw percentage (85 percent), most 3-pointers in a game (eight) and is second in free-throw percentage in a season (90.7 percent).
FOLLOW THE ACTION ONLINE
Fontbonne will provide a live online video broadcast of Wednesday's game. Links will be available at EurekaRedDevils.com, SLIAC.org and D3hoops.com.