For Immediate Release
Women's Basketball -- Jan. 7, 2012
Westminster Too Much For Eureka, 80-67
EUREKA, Ill. – Defending St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion Westminster used an efficient attack to build a big first-half lead, then held off a furious second-half rally from the Eureka College women’s basketball team to earn an 80-67 league win over the Red Devils, Saturday afternoon at the Reagan Center. The win extended the Blue Jays’ regular season SLIAC winning streak to 25 games.
Both squads struggled offensively early before a layup by Westminster’s Kenna Cornelson sparked a 27-7 run for the visitors that culminated with a 3-pointer from Rachel Backes for a 35-11 advantage with 3:16 left before halftime. Eureka (8-3, 2-2 SLIAC) fired back with an 11-6 burst before time expired that included five points from junior reserve guard Kourtney Ewald (Ottawa, Ill./Ottawa H.S./IVCC) to trail 41-22 at intermission.
The Blue Jays (9-2, 4-0 SLIAC) were able to take their biggest lead of the afternoon early in the second half, 54-29, before Eureka put together an impressive offensive stretch to get back into the game. A jumper from senior guard Sara Hamilton (Washington, Ill./Washington H.S./Illinois Central) put the wheels in motion on a 27-11 Eureka run that covered nearly eight minutes midway through the half. Hamilton scored all 13 of her points during the burst, including a 3-point play with 8:40 to go that brought the Red Devils within single-digits (65-56) for the first time since trailing 19-10 with 8:48 left in the first half.
The Blue Jays were able to weather the storm put forth by the Red Devils, quickly pushing their lead back to 15 points on Heather Letourneau’s jumper for a 72-57 lead with 4:15 remaining. Eureka would claw back within 11 points on two free throws by senior forward Khassandrae Brown (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S./Kankakee) and again on a basket from sophomore guard Caty Eeten (Eureka, Ill./Eureka H.S.), but the effort wasn’t enough to end Westminster’s SLIAC winning streak that dates back to February 2010.
Brown led all scorers with a career-high 24 points on 9-for-11 shooting. In addition to her 13 points after halftime, Hamilton pulled down a game-high seven rebounds and dished out five assists to share game-high honors with Eeten and Letourneau.
Backes, the 2011 SLIAC Player of the Year, paced the Westminster offense with 17 points. Leigh Ann Lutz added 15, followed by reserve Hannah Kloster with 10 points. The Blue Jays outrebounded the hosts, 32-29, and forced 29 Eureka turnovers that resulted in 36 of their 80 points for the day. Westminster shot 52 percent (31-for-60) for the game, the most accurate shooting performance by a Eureka opponent this season.
The Red Devils will now turn their attention to another SLIAC matchup this Tuesday versus Webster. Tip-off against the Gorloks is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Reagan Center.
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