Preview: Eureka Begins Two-Game Ohio Swing Thursday at Wooster

Photo courtesy of Bob Hunt.
Photo courtesy of Bob Hunt.

WOOSTER, Ohio -- The Eureka College women's basketball team will travel to the state of Ohio for its final two games before the holiday break, beginning with a 4 p.m. CST tip-off against Wooster on Thursday at Timken Gymnasium in Wooster, Ohio. The Red Devils will play their second game in a 24-hour window on Friday at noon CST against Muskingum in New Concord, Ohio.

PDF Version of Eureka Women's Basketball Game Notes

Eureka has won three in a row and four of its last five games to bring a take a 6-4 overall record into Thursday's game. The Red Devils will be taking their first non-conference road trip since an 85-62 win at Rockford on Nov. 18. 
The Red Devils continue to lead NCAA Division III with 212 total assists and 21.2 assists per game. Kennedy and Kerrigan Dura remain in the national top-10 for individual assists -- Kennedy's 74 assists rank second and Kerrigan's 61 assists rank seventh. Hayley Reneau's 24.3 points per contest now rank second in Division III. She has also made 34 3-point field goals in 2017-18, sixth-most by a player in the country this season.
As a team, Eureka's 89 3-pointers rank sixth nationally and its 8.9 triples per game rank eighth. The Red Devils pour in 80.0 points per game, 13th-most in Division III and on pace to break the single-season Eureka scoring record.
Eight letterwinners return from Eureka's 20-win team that swept the the SLIAC regular season and tournament championships and went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Seven of the returnees played in at least 27 games and four started at least 14 contests. 
Ashley Harfst came off the bench for a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds and Hayley Reneau added 18 points, helping the Red Devils turn a one-point lead at halftime into a 79-68 SLIAC victory over Webster last Saturday afternoon at Christine Bonati Bollwinkle Arena.
The Red Devils led 36-35 at halftime and seized control of the action with a dominant third quarter. Reneau extended the advantage to double digits for the first time, 50-40, with a lay-in at the 4:55 mark. EC's cushion ballooned to as many as 16 in the frame when Samantha Sarnes made two free throws to lead 64-48 in the final minute of the quarter. 
Eureka kept the visitors out of reach for the remainder of the second half. Natalie Busscher's 3-pointer got WU within nine, 75-66 with 3:23 left, but the Gorloks missed their next six shot attempts and Sabrina Clay hit a jumper in the final minute to allow EC win the contest by a double digits.
Harfst went 8-for-9 from the free throw line and hauled down eight of her 11 rebounds at the defensive end. She earned her first career SLIAC Player of the Week award for the effort. Reneau made four 3-pointers, Sarnes tallied 14 off the bench and Kennedy Dura netted 11. The Red Devils shot 46 percent from long range and went 18-for-23 as a team at the foul line.
Wooster began ths season with back-to-back victories over Geneva (Pa.) and Alma (Mich.), but have since lost eight consecutive games for a 2-8 overall record. The Fighting Scots suffered a 77-71 overtime loss to Muskingum on Tuesday. Wooster competes as a member of the North Coast Athletic Conference and has opened its league schedule with an 0-4 record.
The Fighting Scots score 59.0 points per game on 34 percent shooting from the field. Wooster struggles on the glass, gathering only 37.1 boards per game and being outrebounded by more eight rebounds per game. Anna Gibbs, a junior from Gahanna, Ohio, leads the Scots with 10.5 points per game and ranks 57th in Division III with 42 assists. She averages momre than 12 field goal attempts per game. Freshman Maria Janasko averages a team-best 5.7 rebounds per game.
Eureka will be playing against Wooster in women's basketball for the first time in program history. The Red Devils have played one contest against an active member of the NCAC since 1983, a 74-46 loss to DePauw at the old Reagan Center on Jan. 7, 1997.
The College of Wooster is the alma mater of Eureka Director of Athletics Steve Thompson. He was a three-year letterwinner in men's basketball for the Fighting Scots from 1998 through 2001 and scored 780 points in 78 career appearances. Wooster, Ohio is located approximately 35 miles southwest of Akron. The college was founded in 1866 and has an enrollment of 2,000 students.
Eureka will make the 95-minute drive from Wooster to New Concord, Ohio following Thursday's game in advance of Friday's 4 p.m. CST tip-off against Muskingum. The Muskies have split their first four games of the season for a 4-4 record. MU will enter Friday's game riding a two-game win streak after a 61-49 Ohio Athletic Conference victory at Otterbein last Saturday and Tuesday's 77-71 overtime win at Wooster.
Olivia Besancon is the OAC's top scorer with 18.4 points per game. The senior from Smithville, Ohio does a good chunk of her scoring from the free throw line, leading the league and ranking 12th nationally with 51 makes from the foul line. Senior guard Alexandra Carson adds 12.1 points per game and junior Dana Parkman hauls down 8.0 rebounds on average.
Muskingum is Division III's most accurate free-throw shooting team -- the Muskies shoot 82 percent as a team at the charity stripe. MU scores 67.5 points per contest and leads the OAC with 44.5 rebounds per game.
The Red Devils will be playing their first-ever women's basketball game against a member of the OAC on Friday. The 10-team league was founded in 1902 and is the third-oldest athletic conference in the United States.
Muskingum University is located in New Concord, Ohio, approximately 70 miles east of Columbus. MU has an undergraduate enrollment of more than 1,300 students.
Amos Arbogast is in his first season as head coach of the Red Devils. He was selected as the 12th head coach in program history on July 6, 2017. Arbogast had previously served the EC men's basketball program as an assistant coach for six seasons helped guide the Red Devils to consecutive berths to the SLIAC Tournament semifinals in 2012 and 2013, including an appearance in the title game in 2013.
Lisa Panepento is the head coach at Wooster. A 1987 graduate of Wooster and a 1,201-point scorer as a player for the Scots from 1983 through 1987, Panepento owns a 32-72 record now in her fifth season as head coach.
Muskingum is under the direction of 14th-year head coach Beth Fox. She has piloted the Muskies to a 111-227 mark since taking over prior to the 2004-05 campaign. The Lakewood, Ohio native graduated from Bluffton in 1998 and served as an assistant on the Beavers' women's basketball staff prior to her appointment at MU.