FULTON, Mo. – Samantha Sarnes (Havana, Ill./Havana) dropped a career-high 29 points and the Eureka women kept it competitive until near the end, but the Red Devils couldn't get enough rebounds or stops to pull off the upset over Westminster.
The Blue Jays extended a nine-point lead to as many as 16 in the fourth quarter en route to an 87-74 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over EC at Historic Gym Saturday afternoon.
Sarnes, a senior, shot 9-for-13 from the field and 4-for-4 from 3-point range, and junior Ashley Harfst (Saunemin, Ill./Pontiac) followed with 19 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field and 10-of-10 shooting from the free-throw line.
Plus, freshman Olivia Falls (Peoria, Ill./Peoria) added 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting while hitting 5 of 5 free-throw attempts, despite only playing 17 minutes due to foul trouble.
But the Red Devils (8-10, 3-7 SLIAC) struggled to contain Westminster's size and aggression on the boards all game. The Blue Jays (15-4, 9-2) outrebounded the Red Devils 44-29 and outscored them in the paint 40-30.
Eureka held a 9-7 lead less than four minutes into the game, but Westminster took control with a nearly six-minute surge in which the home team outscored the maroon and gold 17-4.
Although the Blue Jays led by as many as 17 during that span, the Red Devils whittled it down to 11 by the end of the frame.
During an improved second frame, they twice narrowed the gap to five and outscored the Westminster 24-23 to make it 47-37 at the half. Every time the Blue Jays threatened to bury them, the Red Devils found an answer. They rode a 9-2 run into the break, won the third quarter 18-17 and were within seven with 1:20 until the fourth quarter.
In the final frame, though, Westminster shot 53.3 percent from the floor and canned 7 of 8 free throws to regain some breathing room.
Kendahl Adams notched a team-high 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting to lead the Jays. Mirrakhol Johnson (18 points and 12 rebounds) posted a double-double, and Miaklyn Callahan was one point short, racking up 11 rebounds and nine points.