Eureka women play in SLIAC tournament

Staff Writer
Woodford Times
Caty Eeten, right, charges past opponents in a recent game while Jylynn Stewart moves into position for the Eureka College women's basketball team.

Eureka College junior guard Caty Eeten (Eureka/Eureka H.S.) scored a game-high 24 points to eclipse the 1,400-point plateau and move into second place on the all-time program scoring list, leading the Red Devils to a 75-49 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory at Principia Feb. 16 in Elsah. The win secured a 2013 SLIAC Tournament berth for the Red Devils.

Principia (2-19, 0-15 SLIAC) controlled a large portion of the first half Saturday, leading by as many as five points when Becca DeNicholas's bucket gave the hosts a 19-14 cushion with 7:32 left before halftime. Eureka (15-8, 10-5 SLIAC) bounced back, regaining the lead for good, 29-27, on a 3-pointer from junior guard Natalie Turner (Wyoming/Stark County H.S./Kankakee) in the final minute of the half. Turner's triple came as part of a 16-8 EC run to close the half, and the visitors carried a 30-27 lead into halftime.

The Panthers kept their deficit at three shortly after halftime, but Eureka began to pull away midway through the second period. Junior guard Kiley Bugaieski (Tremont/Tremont H.S.) drilled a 3-pointer with 14:23 left to give the Red Devils their first double-digit advantage of the afternoon, 47-37. The visitors ultimately outscored PC 41-18 over the final 17 minutes to earn a comfortable 26-point win. A basket from freshman forward Kayla Bryant (Eureka/Eureka H.S.) set the final margin, Eureka's largest lead of the day.

Eeten finished the day 6-for-11 from the field and 10-for-13 from the foul line to increase her career scoring total to 1,412 points, passing Jill McGinnis (1991-95) for second place on Eureka's all-time scoring list. Eeten now needs 72 points to break the all-time EC mark of 1,483 held by Jessica Reardon (2001-05). Eeten also grabbed 11 rebounds Saturday for her sixth double-double of 2012-13.

Additionally, Eeten went 2-for-2 from 3-point range Saturday, bumping her career total to 56 to tie Mindy Whitehouse (1990-94) for seventh place on Eureka's all-time list. Eeten is 32-for-57 from long range this season, as her 56.1 3-point field goal percentage leads the SLIAC and is on pace to break the single-season program record of 40.7 percent, set by Wendy Schmaedke during the 1998-99 campaign. The NCAA Division III single-season record, set more than two decades ago, is 60.0 percent.

Turner was next for EC, scoring a career-high 18 points. Bugaieski scored eight points and went 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. She now has 58 treys for her career, sixth-most in program history. Sophomore forward Kelsey Shoemake (East Peoria/East Peoria H.S.) also scored eight points and collected 10 rebounds. All 13 Red Devils saw the floor for the fourth time in Eureka's last six games.

Four Panthers finished Saturday's game in double-figures. Jessica Bushong led the group with 13 points. Karina Olsen (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Sarah Corbitt (10 points, 10, rebounds) each had double-doubles, marking the first time a Eureka opponent has had multiple double-doubles this season.

Eureka College senior forward Jaylynn Stewart (Taylorville/Taylorville H.S./Illinois State) compiled game-highs of 14 points and three steals, helping the Red Devils earn a 55-49 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win at MacMurray Feb. 20 in Jacksonville. The victory secured the No. 3 seed for Eureka in the upcoming SLIAC Tournament.

Eureka led for most of the first 20 minutes, but neither squad was able to extend their lead past two possessions. The Red Devils led by six on four different occasions and as late as the 5:12 mark of the first half when Eeten gave EC a 20-14 edge. The Highlanders answered with seven straight points for a 21-20 lead, their first advantage since the first four minutes of the game.

The Red Devils bounced back by scoring the final six points of the period, and Stewart's jumper in the closing seconds pushed the visitors to a 26-21 halftime lead.

Eureka never trailed in the second half. The Red Devils threatened to put the game out of reach early in the final period, claiming their first double-digit lead of the night, 36-25, on a 3-pointer from Bugaieski with 14:25 left. The lead ultimately swelled to 13 points (38-25) before the hosts battled back.

Whittney Wade's basket with 3:39 to play trimmed the MC deficit to four, 48-44, but the Highlanders were unable to get any closer. Stewart's jumper with 49 seconds left pushed the EC cushion back to three possessions, 52-45. Despite a pair of baskets in the final minute from Amy Radford, Eureka made its final three shots from the free throw line to hold off the MC rally.

Stewart scored 14 points to share game-high honors with Shoemake. Junior guard Natalie Turner (Wyoming/Stark County H.S./Kankakee) snagged a career-high 11 rebounds. Eeten finished the afternoon with 12 points, going 8-for-10 from the free throw line to break Jessica Reardon's all-time Eureka record (540) for free throws attempted with 547.

Radford led the hosts with 12 points and six rebounds. The Highlanders committed only nine turnovers for the game.

Eeten and Shoemake each had double-doubles in Saturday's St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference semifinal against Webster, but the second-seeded Gorloks earned a 73-67 victory to eliminate the third-seeded Red Devils on the campus of Westminster College in Fulton, Mo.

The Red Devils got off to a strong start, as Eeten, Shoemake and Stewart each scored to deliver a 10-2 EC lead less than six minutes into the contest. Eureka held the advantage for more than 10 minutes until Webster grabbed its first lead of the afternoon, 17-16, on a basket from Maggie Zehner.

Zehner's basket ignited a 23-9 run from the Gorloks over the final 9:08 of the first half, including 10 in a row to close the half. Cassie Endicott's jumper with 1:32 left gave Webster a 40-25 cushion, its largest lead of the first 20 minutes that also stood up as the halftime score.

The WU lead ultimately swelled to 16 (48-32) before the Red Devils began chipping away at the deficit. A 3-pointer from freshman forward Emily Camden (Green Valley/Midwest Central H.S.) cut the WU lead to single-digits (48-41) with 12:33 to play, and Eeten's basket less than two minutes later put the exclamation point on a 16-3 blitz and brought Eureka within a single possession, 51-48.

Eureka maintained a manageable deficit for the remainder of the game and eventually slashed the WU cushion to two, 67-65, on Eeten's triple with 1:06 to play. The Eureka defense got a stop on the ensuing possession and had a chance to shoot for the lead in the final minute, but Zehner's steal and Gwen Williams's subsequent free throws pushed the Webster lead back to four, 69-65, with 27 seconds left. Webster ultimately went 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final minute to hold off Eureka's furious rally.

Eeten scored a game-high 26 points, including an 11-for-12 effort from the free throw line to break the all-time Eureka free throw record. She now has 455 career free throws, breaking the previous mark of 449 set by Jessica Reardon (2001-05). Eeten also grabbed 10 rebounds Saturday.

Eeten finished her junior season with 555 points, just the third 500-point season produced by a Eureka women's basketball player and 39 points short of tying her own single-season Eureka scoring record of 594 set last season. She shot 53.2 percent (33-for-62) from 3-point range in 2012-13, a new single-season program record. Eeten will enter her final collegiate season next winter with 1,450 career points, 33 shy of matching the all-time program record of 1,483 held by Reardon.

Shoemake scored 10 points and hauled down a game-high 13 rebounds. Junior guard Natalie Turner (Wyoming/Stark County H.S./Kankakee) tacked on nine points, followed by Stewart with eight points, seven rebounds and six assists in her final collegiate game. Camden also scored eight off the bench.

The Red Devils finished the 2012-13 season with 137 3-point field goals, breaking the single-season program record for the third consecutive season under head coach Taren Martin.

Zehner scored 19 points to lead a balanced Webster attack. Williams poured in 12, followed by Courtney Pursley with 11 and Endicott with 10. Kaliann Rikard distributed five assists, as the Gorloks committed only seven turnovers for the afternoon. Webster will advance to Sunday's 2 p.m. championship game against the winner of top-seeded host Westminster and fourth-seeded Spalding.

Three Eureka College women's basketball players have been named to the 2012-13 All-St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Team, SLIAC Commissioner Will Wolper announced Saturday at the SLIAC Tournament in Fulton, Mo. Eeten was named to the First Team, Shoemake was named to the Second Team and Stewart received Honorable Mention.

Eeten, who also earned All-SLIAC First Team accolades as a sophomore last season, finished the 2012-13 regular season as the SLIAC leader with 22.0 points per game, 172 field goals made, 153 free throws made and a .552 3-point field goal percentage. She also averaged 6.4 rebounds and totaled 65 assists, 36 steals and 22 blocked shots.

Eeten received preseason All-American Honorable Mention from in November and was a three-time SLIAC Player of the Week (Dec. 3, Jan. 28, Feb. 4) this season. She will enter Saturday's SLIAC Tournament semifinal with 1,424 career points, needing 59 more points to match the all-time Eureka scoring record of 1,483 currently held by Jessica Reardon (2001-05). Eeten also needs an additional 65 points to match her own single-season scoring record of 594 set last season. Her 3-point field goal percentage of .552 (32-for-58) is on pace to shatter Eureka's single-season record of .407, set by Wendy Schmaedke during the 1998-99 season.

Shoemake appeared in all 24 regular season games, 23 of which were starts, in her first full season for the Red Devils in 2012-13. She averaged 13.5 points and ranked third among SLIAC players with 9.7 rebounds per game. Her 156 defensive rebounds and .576 field goal percentage led the league. She erupted for 39 points in Eureka's 112-83 win over Knox on Nov. 15, the third-highest individual scoring mark in single-game program history. Her effort in the season-opening win resulted in her first SLIAC Player of the Week award.

Shoemake's .576 field goal percentage as of the end of the regular season ranks third in Eureka's single-season history, while her rebounding average of 9.7 ranks sixth. Additionally, her 156 defensive rebounds rank tied for fourth and her 77 offensive boards rank fifth since the stat was tracked beginning in 2000.

Like Shoemake, Stewart completed her first full season with the Red Devils in 2012-13. She joined Eeten as the only two players to start all 24 games, averaging 11.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game as one of Eureka's most versatile players. Her 100 assists led the Red Devils and ranked second among SLIAC players, while her 53 steals ranked fifth in the league. Stewart entered Saturday's SLIAC Tournament semifinal needing one assist to crack the program's single-season top-10 list. Additionally, her 1.69 assist-to-turnover ratio ranked 49th nationally as of the end of the regular season.

Stewart joined Shoemake and Eeten as Red Devils to be named SLIAC Player of the Week. Stewart received the honor from the league on Dec. 31.

Junior guard Victoria White (Chicago/Dunbar H.S.) was named to the SLIAC All-Sportsmanship Team Saturday. One player from each member school is selected to receive the honor. White appeared in eight games off the bench for Eureka this season, totaling seven points, five rebounds and five steals in 28 minutes of action.

Spalding's Kelly Harrod was selected as the SLIAC Player of the Year. Fontbonne freshman Samantha Voegtle received SLIAC Newcomer of the Year, and Westminster head coach Tracey Braden was tabbed SLIAC Coach of the Year after guiding the Blue Jays to their third consecutive outright regular season SLIAC championship.