APPLETON, Wis. -- The Lawrence University women's basketball team's shooting went cold after the first quarter Saturday, and the Vikings dropped a 61-52 Midwest Conference game to Grinnell College at Alexander Gymnasium.
Lawrence (3-3, 1-1 MWC) shot just 30.2 percent for the game, including 23.7 percent over the final three quarters. Despite the frigid shooting, the Vikings trailed by only five points early in the fourth quarter and got as close as six points with two minutes left before Grinnell (3-4, 1-1) pulled away.
Kenya Earl paced Lawrence and all scorers with 26 points, and she pulled down a game-best eight rebounds. Earl was the only player in double figures for the Vikings, who saw their five starters connect on 13-of-43 shots from the floor.
Sasha Thomas scored 18 points to lead Grinnell, and Tyria Heath added 11 points and eight rebounds.
Lawrence trailed 29-26 at the half, and Thomas scored the first five points of the second half to give the Pioneers a 34-26 edge. Lawrence chipped away and cut the lead to 38-35 on Maggie Gallagher's fastbreak layup with 2:09 left in the third.
Thomas answered with a 3-pointer for Grinnell, and the Pioneers built the lead to 43-36 after three.
A pair of Earl free throws trimmed the margin to 43-38 with 6:42 left in the game. Earl went 9-for-10 from the foul line, and Lawrence finished 15-of-19 from the stripe.
Grinnell pushed the lead back to nine, but Liz Jonjak's three free throws and Earl's layup trimmed the advantage to 54-46 with 2:02 left. Grinnell then went 7-for-8 from the foul line in the4 final 1:09 to seal the victory.