Big rally falls short in Vikings' loss to Monmouth

Lawrence women's basketball action Karina Herrera
Lawrence's rally came up short in a 66-51 loss to Monmouth.

APPLETON, Wis. -- The Lawrence University women's basketball team rallied from a big early deficit Saturday before Monmouth College recovered in the fourth quarter and posted a 66-51 Midwest Conference victory at Alexander Gymnasium.

Four players scored in double figures for the Vikings, led by Kenya Earl with 12 points and six rebounds. Shonell Benjamin, Leah Reeves and Arianna Neumeyer added 10 points apiece for Lawrence (4-9, 1-6 MWC). Erin Hill added four assists and six rebounds for the Vikings, Benjamin had four assists and four rebounds and Neumeyer collected four steals.

Monmouth (11-2, 6-0) needed a huge performance from Shayne Smith, who scored 36 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and picked up five assists and three steals. Smith scored all 25 points for Monmouth in the second half on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor and 7-of-8 from the foul line. The remainder of the Monmouth squad was 0-for-10 from the floor after the break.

Monmouth jumped out to a 23-0 lead, and Lawrence didn't score until Neumeyer hit a 3-pointer with 1:08 left in the opening quarter. The Scots led 27-5 after one.

Lawrence was down 41-20 late in the second quarter before a surge to end the first half. Neumeyer got a layup and Earl hit a free throw before a steal with five seconds left. The ball went to Neumeyer, who hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut the lead to 41-26 at the half.

The Vikings continued to edge closer in the third quarter before six straight points cut the deficit to single digits. The Vikings trailed 47-33 when Karina Herrera hit a jumper, Neumeyer followed with a pair of free throws and Reeves buried a jumper to trim the margin to 47-39 with 3:37 left in the third.

Lawrence got as close as seven points twice, the last time on Earl's jumper with 55 seconds left in the third, before Smith hit a 3-pointer to stake the Scots to a 53-43 lead heading to the fourth.

After Earl's layup cut the lead to 55-45, the Vikings went cold and missed their next seven shots from the floor. Monmouth used that stretch to push the lead to 64-45 and seal the victory.