Vikings turn back Monmouth

Lawrence's Kenya Earl scored 20 points to lead the Vikings to a 63-59 win over Monmouth.
Lawrence's Kenya Earl scored 20 points to lead the Vikings to a 63-59 win over Monmouth.

APPLETON, Wis. -- The Lawrence University women's basketball team turned back a fourth-quarter rally by Monmouth College on Saturday and posted a 63-59 Midwest Conference win over the Scots at Alexander Gymnasium.

Kenya Earl scored a game-high 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the floor and posted five rebounds and two blocks to pace Lawrence (3-10, 1-4 MWC). Leah Reeves went 6-for-8 from the floor and added 16 points and four rebounds for the Vikings.

Elena Gonzales and Shonell Benjamin had nine points apiece for the Vikings, and Gonzales also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. Olivia Hoesley dished out a game-high seven assists for Lawrence.

Shayne Smith led Monmouth (5-8, 2-4) with 12 points, and Tia Robertson added 10 points and seven rebounds.

Lawrence led 49-40 after three quarters, but the Scots started the final period on a 10-2 run and trimmed the margin to 51-50 on Robertson's layup with 7:10 left. The Vikings were up 55-53 when Earl flexed her muscle in the paint. Earl scored on back-to-back layups to put the Vikings up 59-53 with 2:04 remaining.

Demi Johnson scored the next three points for Monmouth to cut the lead to 59-56 with 1:10 left, and the Vikings sandwiched two free throws around a Smith layup for a 61-58 lead with 17 seconds remaining. Smith then missed a three-pointer from the corner and Lawrence got the ball back.

Earl was fouled and converted one free throw with 12 seconds left for a 62-58 lead. The Scots missed another three-pointer, but Yvonne Ornelas grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled. She made one free throw with six seconds left to cut the lead back to 62-59. Erin Hill then drained one free throw with five seconds remaining to seal the victory.

Lawrence started to take control late in the first quarter when the Vikings scored the final five points of the period for a 15-11 lead. Lawrence expanded that lead in the second quarter as Earl scored nine points in the period and Reeves added six. The Vikings led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter before settling for a 37-26 lead at the half.

The Scots quickly trimmed the lead back to 39-32 in the third quarter, but Lawrence was up 49-37 after a Reeves jumper with 2:12 left in the period. Monmouth's Carley Turnbull hit a three-pointer with five seconds left to cut the lead to 49-40 after three periods.