Preview: Eureka Sets Sights on Road Win at Iowa Wesleyan

Photo courtesy of Michelle Curl.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Curl.

MOUNT PLEASANT — The Eureka women have claimed three straight home wins, but they haven't won on the road since Dec. 15 at Blackburn.

The Red Devils are looking to change that in a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest at Iowa Wesleyan Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

ABOUT EUREKA

The Red Devils are heading to Mount Pleasant having snagged two conference wins in their last three tries. They blew out Principia 72-46 on Jan. 5 and handled MacMurray 75-61 on Sunday.

Currently sitting seventh in the SLIAC at 6-8 and 2-5 in the conference, EC can inch up to the middle of the pack with a win over the Tigers.

Eureka has four players who can pace the team in scoring on any given night. It's had four different leading scorers in the last five games.

Freshman Josie Morgan (11.5 points per game) has recorded career highs twice in that span. Junior Ashley Harfst (11.3) recorded a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds in the MacMurray win, while senior Samantha Sarnes (11.4) led the way with 19 against Principia and junior Kennedy Dura (10.8) had 16 in a six-point loss to Anderson (Ind.) before the holiday break.

Senior Ja'Keesha Hawkins also contributed a career-high 10 points against MacMurray.

The Red Devils have two guards in the top in the SLIAC in assists on the season, with Dura in second at 66 and Morgan fifth with 50. Dura is also fourth in steals with 35.

A pair of freshmen are the team's top rebounders, with Olivia Falls and Sierrah Seals posting 6.4 and 5.8, respectively.

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.

ABOUT IOWA WESLEYAN

With one fewer conference loss, Iowa Wesleyan enters Wednesday's game slightly ahead of Eureka in the standings. The Tigers are 3-9 on the season and 2-4 in SLIAC play.

Their conference wins came over Blackburn and MacMurray — both teams the Red Devils have topped this season — but they fell short to Principia by four. They're coming off a 42-point drubbing by SLIAC leader Greenville.

IWU's top player is senior veteran Darby Massner, who averages 16.4 points per game. Her 10.8 rebounds per game average is third in the SLIAC. Her younger sister, Allie Massner, contributes 12.2 points per game.

As a team, the Tigers shoot 32.4 percent from the field and average 52.2 points per game — 19.3 points per fewer than Eureka.

RECENT HISTORY

Eureka will be vying for its fifth straight win over Iowa Wesleyan on Wednesday. If they get it, it will be their second five-game win streak over the Tigers.

The Red Devils are 13-6 all-time and have swept the Tigers the past two seasons, but IWU claimed five straight during a stretch from 2014 to 2016.

Neither game was competitive last season. Dura dropped a then-career-high 20 points in an 84-46 rout and later broke Deb Kessinger's Eureka record for assists in a single season in a 78-54 triumph.

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.

Jack Bruns is in his second season at the helm for Iowa Wesleyan. He became the Tigers' 11th women's coach in program history in April 2017 after spending several years as an assistant coach.

A 2011 Central College graduate, Bruns was a three-year letterwinner on the basketball team.

FOLLOW THE ACTION ONLINE

Iowa Wesleyan will provide a live online video broadcast of Wednesday's game. Links will be available at EurekaRedDevils.com, SLIAC.org and D3hoops.com.