THE OPENING TIP-OFF
EUREKA — The Eureka women's basketball got back in the win column at home last weekend.
This week, the Red Devils are headed on the road for St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contests at Iowa Wesleyan and Fontbonne.
EC will face Iowa Wesleyan at Olan G. Ruble Arena on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Then, on the Saturday, the team will take on Fontbonne at the Dunham Student Activity Center at 1 p.m.
After taking care of MacMurray in a 93-58 home blowout last Saturday, the Red Devils are 7-4 on the season and 3-1 in St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
With wins over Blackburn, Principia and MacMurray, and a single loss to Westminster, EC is one of five teams in the league to hold a 3-1 record. Spalding, Webster, Fontbonne and Westminster are the other three.
The Red Devils continue to lead the SLIAC in points per game (79.5), rebounds (46.4) and steals (13.3) while holding opponents to a league-low 64.1 points per night.
Sophomore Olivia Falls was named SLIAC Player of the Week for the third time this week after posting a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 7-for-9 from the field and 6-for-7 from the free-throw line.
Freshman Whitney Bozarth tallied a team-high 21 points on 8-for-14 shooting, and distributed a career-high six assists. Senior Ja'Keesha Hawkins notched a career-high 18 points and hit four 3-pointers, while fellow senior Kennedy Dura added 16 with four 3s, as well.
With a 47.1 field goal percentage, a 40.6 3-point percentage and a 76.2 percent free-throw percentage, it was the Red Devils' best shooting day of the season thus far.
Four different EC players lead the SLIAC in at least one major statistical category.
Olivia Falls is shooting a league-best 57.8 percent from the field. Harfst is the conference's leading rebounder with 12 per game and 132 on the season, and has made the most free throws with 68 in 75 tries. Dura, who became EC's program assist leader over winter break, has a league-high 48 dishes on the season, while Hawkins leads the league with 29 steals.
ABOUT IOWA WESLEYAN
The Iowa Wesleyan women's basketball team has seen better days.
Eleven games into the season, the Tigers only have one win — a 79-40 win over Principia. They've lost SLIAC games to Westminster (99-47), Spalding (88-46) and Blackburn (71-62) by a an average of 34.3 points per game.
Mostly recently, though, the Tigers played their closest SLIAC game yet, coming with nine points on the road against Blackburn on Saturday. Allie Massner, Morgan McCrea and Maddie Williamson all scored double figures.
Massner and McCrea are the third- and fourth-leading scorers in the conference with 16.9 and 16.1 points per game, respectively, and have totaled the most points of anyone in the league (186 and 177, respectively), up to this point.
They also have hit the most 3-pointers of any player in the SLIAC. Massner, a senior, has knocked down 31 triples in 82 tries, while McCrea, a junior, has hit 30 in 85 tries.
The Tigers have a hit a league-leading 97 3-pointers in 287 attempts, putting them second in 3-point percentage (33.8).
Eureka is 15-6 against Iowa Wesleyan all-time, and has won six straight over the Tigers.
Fontbonne is one of the five teams in the conference to hold a 3-1 record, and is currently 4-7 on the year.
With a win over the Griffins, the Red Devils would knock off a team that is starting off the week on equal footing.
Like Eureka, Fontbonne has wins over MacMurray and Blackburn, but it also has a quality 71-59 win over Greenville under its belt.
Most recently, the Griffins fell to Webster 83-72. Raven Venegas dropped 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds in a losing effort. Rylee Stafford added 17 and hit a three 3-pointers.
Venegas, a 5-10 senior forward, is second in the league in field goal percentage at 52.2, while Stafford, a 5-6 junior guard, is second in steals (28) and third 3-pointers made (24-of-82).
Fontbonne is third in the league in field-goal percentage at 39 percent, narrowly edging Eureka's 38.6.
The Griffins hold a 17-15 edge over the Red Devils in the all-time series.