Vikings turn back MacMurray

Lawrence women's basketball action Shonell Benjamin
Shonell Benjamin scored 19 points in Lawrence's 71-58 win at MacMurray.

JACKSONVILLE, Ill. -- The Lawrence University women's basketball team got two key baskets from Kenya Earl in the fourth quarter Friday and then sealed the win at the foul line in a 71-58 nonconference victory over MacMurray College at Bill Wall Gymnasium.

Shonell Benjamin scored a game-high 19 points for the Vikings and added seven rebounds and six steals. Earl had a double-double for the Vikings (4-5) with 18 points and a game-high 11 rebounds to go with three blocks and two steals.

Allie Taberski led MacMurray (1-8) with 18 points, but the Highlanders committed 29 turnovers. That led to a huge disparity in shots as Lawrence, which had just 11 turnovers, went 24-for-68 from the floor, compared to 22-of-42 for the Highlanders. The Vikings finished with 26 points off turnovers, and MacMurray had just six.

Lawrence, which led by as many as 12 points in the third quarter, was holding a 55-50 lead when Earl converted a three-point play with 5:13 remaining in the fourth. After a Karyssa Pedersen layup, Earl hit a jumper to push Lawrence's lead back to 60-52.

After the teams traded free throws, MacMurray was forced to foul. The Vikings went 8-for-10 from the foul line in the final 1:14 as the Highlanders got no closer than nine points the rest of the way.

After a quiet first quarter in which the teams combined for just 12 points, MacMurray rallied from a six-point deficit to tie the game at 17-17. The game was tight until the break, and Earl's layup was the final basket of the first half and gave Lawrence a 27-24 lead heading into halftime.

Lawrence eased away in the third quarter and got consecutive baskets from Moreau Halliburton, Benjamin and Erin Hill to grab its biggest lead of the game, 46-34, with 4:15 left in the third. MacMurray bounced back to score the game's next nine points to cut the margin to 46-43 before a Leah Reeves layup and a pair of Earl free throws gave the Vikings a 50-43 edge heading to the fourth quarter.