At a Glance
The first full night of games this calendar year begin with this week's SLIAC Game of the Week between the women's basketball teams of Eureka College and Spalding University meeting on Wednesday. Eureka and Spalding enter the night in the top half of the conference teams with the winner looking to start separating themselves from the rest of the league. The two teams will top off in Eureka, Illinois on January 3 at 6 p.m.
Eureka College'RED DEVILS'
Eureka carries a 7-5 overall record and a 3-1 record in the SLIAC into the new year. The Red Devils fell to Muskingum 67-60 in their last outing (Dec. 22) which snapped a four-game winning streak.
Eureka has the most explosive offense in the league, averaging 79.7 points per game this season and knocking down 8.4 three-pointers per game. At the front of that attack is senior guard Hayley Reneau. Reneau is averaging a conference-high 24.3 points per game with 38 three-pointers this year. Ashley Harfst (11.7 ppg), Kennedy Dura (11.1 ppg), and Samantha Sarnes (10.3 ppg) all support the offense. Dura and her sister Kerrigan are both averaging over six assists per game as well.
Spalding University 'GOLDEN EAGLES'
Spalding is just 4-8 overall but sit in a tie for 4th place in the SLIAC standings with a 2-2 record. The Golden Eagles split their two games in Florida during the Daytona Beach Shootout and fell to Transylvania just before the new year.
Spalding is averaging 61.0 points per game this season and is the league's best at protecting the ball, committing just 15.0 turnovers per game. Junior guard Alex Martin is the unquestioned leader of the Golden Eagles, averaging 12.5 points, 4.1 assists, and 2.5 steals per game; all team bests. Allison Just is second on the team at 10.1 points per game and gives the team strength inside, shooting 48-percent from the field. Lelanda Matthews is also a strong inside presence at 7.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while leading the SLIAC in blocks with 26.
Looking At Last Year
- Spalding leads the all-time series against Eureka 11-6, although Eureka has won the last three meetings.
- Eureka has topped 90 points three times this year including a 103 point game earlier this season.
- Senior forward Lelanda Matthews has nearly doubled her output from last year. After playing just 9.3 minutes per game last season, averaging 4.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks per game; she is averaging 7.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game this year.
- The Dura sisters, Kennedy (80) and Kerrigan (74), rank 2nd and 4th nationally in assists.
- Alex Martin is looking to finish as Spalding's leading scorer for the third straight year. She averaged a team-best 12.9 points as a freshman, followed by 13.2 points per game last year.
- Hayley Reneau is not only dangerous on offense, but ranks 1st in the SLIAC and 4th nationally with 47 steals.