Hot Second-Half Shooting Leads Red Devils Past Wooster

Sarah Rapacz

WOOSTER, Ohio – Eureka College rode a 55 percent second-half shooting clip, including 44 percent from three-point range, to pull away from The College of Wooster women's basketball as part of a 96-56 victory on Thursday evening at Timken Gymnasium.

Leading 38-31 at the halftime break, the Red Devils (7-4), who came into Thursday as the 13th-highest scoring offense in NCAA Div. III, capitalized with 28 points in the third period and 30 in the fourth.

Eureka's Hayley Reneau, the second-leading scorer in Div. III with 24.3 points per game, led all scorers with 23 points in addition to seven steals, six assists, and five rebounds.

For Wooster (2-9), junior Anna Gibbs totaled a team-high 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting to go along with five boards and three assists. First-year Sarah Rapacz and sophomore Erica Roberts – both top-five in the North Coast Athletic Conference in blocks per game – tallied two blocks each while Rapacz led all Fighting Scots with six rebounds.

Despite the final result, Wooster's intensity arrived in full-force from the opening tip, with junior Kyle Croxton getting an easy layup just :04 in as part of a game-opening 10-2 Wooster run.

Rapacz made it 4-2 nearly a minute later before three-pointers from Gibbs and senior Aki Shurelds stretched the lead to eight midway through the first.

The Red Devils managed to level it at 13-all with 2:04 left to play before Shurelds connected for her second 3-pointer of the game to retake the lead. On the next possession, sophomore Kylie Orr, who two days ago forced overtime against Muskingum University with a game-tying three, connected from deep on her first of two 3-pointers to bring the lead to five with over a minute remaining.

From there, Eureka closed out the first period on a 5-0 run, with all points coming from Ashley Harfst.

In the second, each team attempted 20 shots, with Wooster managing four baskets compared to Eureka's eight as the Red Devils outscored the Scots 20-12 to take a seven-point halftime lead.

After Orr hit from deep to make it 29-25 Wooster with 3:34 left to play, Eureka ended on a 13-2 run which seemingly changed the momentum for not only the half but the remainder of the game.

In the final 20 minutes, the Scots, who went 6-for-18 from deep in the first half, were limited to 1-for-11 shooting from deep as part of an overall 9-for-40 from the field.

Wooster opened the third period on an 8-4 run to crawl back within two at the 7:13 mark, but a period-closing 25-8 run put the Red Devils up 66-47 entering the fourth period.

Roberts totaled six of her eight points in the fourth. Meanwhile, Eureka closed out the game on 11-of-20 shooting to finish with 96 points, the Red Devils' second-highest point total of the year.

Six Eureka players finished in double figures, including respective double-doubles from Harfst (18 points, 14 rebounds) and Kerrigan Dura (12 points, 11 rebounds).

Up next, Wooster travels south for the four-team Sewanee Holiday Classic in Sewanee, Tenn., with the Scots slated to open play against Sewanee (2-5) on Dec. 29 at 6 p.m.