APPLETON, Wis. -- This one had been a long time coming.
Kenya Earl scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds Friday to lead the Lawrence University women's basketball team to a 64-56 victory over Illinois College in the Midwest Conference opener at Alexander Gymasium. The victory snapped a conference skid that dated back to Dec. 14, 2013, when the Vikings won 93-92 at Knox College.
Earl was a force inside for the Vikings as she hit 6-of-11 shots from the floor and punished Illinois College at the foul line by making 11-of-12 free throws. It was Earl's highest scoring output of the season and she matched her season best in rebounding while recording her second double-double.
Brielle Greenleaf scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Illinois College (2-5, 0-1).
Lawrence got off to a slow start and trailed by six after the first quarter, but the Vikings bounced back in the second period. Earl hit a three-pointer to give Lawrence a 14-13 lead, and the Vikings got a jumper from Nicole Cummins in the final seconds for a 29-25 edge at the half.
Lawrence opened the third quarter with five consecutive points as Hoesley hit a three-pointer and Earl converted a pair of free throws for a 34-25 advantage. The Lady Blues fought back and took the lead at 39-38 on Greenleaf's three-pointer with 1:28 left in the third. Illinois College lead 41-38 after three periods.
After Shannen Quehl's layup moved Illinois College's lead to five at 43-38, the Vikings took command. Hill's three-pointer and Earl's three-point play put Lawrence ahead 44-43 and started a 15-1 run for the Vikings. Earl scored six points during the outburst, which was capped by Elena Gonzalez's layup for a 53-44 lead with 5:07 left.
Illinois College fought back, but Hoesley drained a three-pointer to push Lawrence's lead back to 57-49. After layups from Greenleaf and Bailey Paskach cut the lead to 57-53 with 1:07 remaining, Lawrence sealed the win at the foul line. Lawrence went 7-for-8 from the charity stripe in the final 38 seconds to secure the victory.
Lawrence had a huge advantage at the foul line as the Vikings went 22-for-35 while Illinois College was 5-for-9. The Lady Blues were whistled for 30 fouls and had three players foul out.