EUREKA — The Eureka College women have had their share of fast starts lately.
But that wasn't the case here on Monday night.
With St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference leader Greenville on its floor, the Red Devils fell into an early hole that they never quite escaped.
Eureka worked its way back into the game in the next three quarters before ultimately falling to the Panthers, 66-55, at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.
The loss ended a four-game win streak for the Red Devils, who fell to 12-11 on the season and 6-8 in the SLIAC. Greenville, the only SLIAC team with one conference loss, improved to 19-4 and 13-1.
EC senior Samantha Sarnes (Havana, Ill./Havana) tallied a team-high 16 points while shooting 6-for-17 from the field and hitting a trio of 3-pointers to lead three Red Devils in double figures.
Freshman Josie Morgan (Washington, Ill./Washington) finished with 13 points and also knocked down three triples for EC, and freshman Olivia Falls (Bloomington, ill./Bloomington) added 12 points and a career-high 17 rebounds.
The Panthers led by as many as 18 during a first quarter in which the Red Devils shot 1-for-18 from the field.
In the second quarter, however, shots started falling and the EC women began chipping into the lead. The home team came within seven points twice – once after a jumper by Falls, another time on a runner by Dura — and went into halftime down 10.
The Red Devils struggled to make up ground in the third quarter. And even when they came within striking distance in the fourth, a surge on both ends of the court eluded them.
When Falls hit a pair of free throws to make it a six-point game with 4:07 left, Greenville came up with a three-point play on the other end to stretch it back out to nine. It never got closer than that.
EC shot 25.4 percent from the field to Greenville's 36.8. It did, however, get a narrow edge in the rebounding battle, gathering 47 boards to the Panthers' 46.
Emily Brandland scored a game-high 17 points for Greenville. Megan Barrett and Wesley Wooddard added 12 and 11 points, respectively.