For Immediate Release
Women's Basketball -- Feb. 11, 2012
Red Devils Beat Fontbonne to Match Record Win Streak
EUREKA, Ill. – Eureka College senior forward Khassandrae Brown (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S./Kankakee) led all players with 25 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Red Devils overcome a four-point halftime deficit and earn an 82-80 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over Fontbonne, Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at the Reagan Center. The decision marked Eureka’s 11th consecutive victory, matching the longest win streak in the 37-year history of the program.
The Red Devils (19-3, 12-2 SLIAC) got off to a quick start, scoring the first six points of the game and keeping the Griffins off the scoreboard until the 17:36 mark. Eureka maintained its advantage through the first nine minutes of the contest before Fontbonne (14-9, 11-3 SLIAC) used a 9-2 burst to claim a 17-15 lead on Shelby Ellison’s free throws with 10:49 to play in the first half. The visitors would go on to lead by as many as six points on two different occasions in the first half before carrying a 29-25 lead into halftime.
Eureka sophomore guard Caty Eeten (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S.) led all scorers with 12 points in the first 20 minutes, but the Red Devils shot just 34 percent (12-for-35) and missed all 11 of their 3-point attempts as a team in the first half.
Eureka quickly recovered to regain the lead early in the second half. Junior guard Jay Stewart (Taylorville, Ill./Taylorville H.S./Illinois State) scored five points during a 9-4 burst, and a layup from senior forward Lisa Byard (Morton, Ill./Morton H.S.) at the 18:07 mark pushed Eureka to a 34-33 advantage and forced a Fontbonne timeout. The two squads would go on to trade the lead six more times before the end of the contest. Stewart’s 3-pointer with 6:51 to play broke the ninth tie of the afternoon and gave the Red Devils the lead for good, 60-57.
Eureka’s lead swelled to as many as seven points, 74-67, after Eeten’s layup with 1:10 remaining. The Griffins ultimately connected on three 3-point field goals in the final 49 seconds, including a bucket from Ava Johnson with 1.8 seconds left to cut the FU deficit to 82-80, but Eureka was able to dribble out the clock after a timeout to earn the victory. Brown went 4-for-4 from the foul line in the final 17 seconds to provide insurance for the hosts.
Eeten scored 24 points and hauled down eight rebounds in the victory, while Stewart fell just shy of a double-double with 20 points and nine boards. Senior guard Sara Hamilton (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S.) chipped in with a game-high seven assists, as Eureka took solid care of the basketball with a SLIAC season-low 12 turnovers.
The decision extended Eureka’s win streak to 11 games, the longest win streak in Eureka women’s basketball history since the Red Devils won 11 straight games to open the 1984-85 season. The Red Devils also went 19-for-27 from the free throw line on Saturday, bumping their season total to 431-for-576 to break the previous single-season Eureka free throw record of 412 set during the 1993-94 campaign.
Saturday marked the final regular season home game for seniors Brown, Byard, Hamilton, Elizabeth Greger (Petersburg, Ill./PORTA H.S.) and Lanie Viti (Streator, Ill./Woodland H.S.). All five seniors were recognized during a pregame ceremony at center court.
Saturday’s victory kept the Red Devils locked in a tie with Westminster for first place in the SLIAC standings. The Red Devils and Blue Jays have identical 12-2 conference records and will meet on the hardwood next Saturday at 5 p.m. in Fulton, Mo.
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