JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Eureka women's basketball team gave Division II Lincoln a push, but the Blue Tigers managed to keep their footing.
Playing their second road game in as many days, the Red Devils fell to Lincoln 84-75 in a winter-break exhibition matchup at Jason Gym on Thursday afternoon.
Eureka's Whitney Bozarth (Normal, Ill./Normal West) racked up a team-high 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting from floor. The 5-foot-6 freshman guard knocked down 4 of 6 3-point attempts and grabbed eight rebounds, finishing with her most points in a game since EC's season opener at Rockford on Nov. 8.
Fellow freshman Jadyn Mitchell (Flanagan, Ill./Flanagan-Cornel) followed with 17 points off the bench on 5-for-8 shooting from the floor and hit a trio of triples.
Sophomore Olivia Falls (Bloomington, Ill./Bloomington) added 12 points and a team-high nine boards. Senior Ashley Harfst (Saunemin, Ill./Pontiac) and Ja'Keesha Hawkins (Peoria, Ill./Peoria) added 10 and nine points, respectively, while senior and all-time assists leader Kennedy Dura (Edwards, Ill./Brimfield) contributed nine assists, along with seven points.
After a cold shooting day at Anderson on Wednesday, Eureka bounced back and shot 43.3 percent from the field (26-for-60) while hitting nine 3-pointers.
The Red Devils scored seven points unanswered to start the game and led for most of the first quarter. However, the Blue Tigers caught up near the end of the frame, with a buzzer-beating trey by Natasha Dolinsky giving the home team a 19-15 advantage.
In the second quarter, Bozarth got hot and scored 15 of EC's 25 points to keep the Red Devils right on Lincoln's heels.
The Blue Tigers maintained a four-point lead at halftime at 44-40, and stretched the lead to 13 with a 9-0 run to start the second half.
The home team held its second-biggest lead of the day at 60-44 after Nia McCaskill put away a free throw with 4:51 left in the third. Eureka responded by outscoring Lincoln 19-8 for the rest of the quarter and trimming the lead to five points.
But in the fourth, Lincoln held the Red Devils at bay and secured a nine-point win. Kaloni Pyrear and Vivian Chigbu were the team's top scorers, tallying 21 and 19 points, respectively.
Thursday's exhibition was the Red Devils' (6-4, 2-1 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) last game until they host SLIAC foe MacMurray (1-8, 0-3 SLIAC) on Jan. 4 at 1 p.m.