Vikings edged in bruising battle against Cornell

Lawrence women's basketball action KJ Davis
Lawrence's KJ Davis (13) scored a career-high 15 points against Cornell.

APPLETON, Wis. -- The Lawrence University women's basketball team was edged 61-56 by Cornell College on Friday in a Midwest Conference game at Alexander Gymnasium.

The Rams built an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter before Lawrence closed late but came up short.

Lawrence standout Kenya Earl was handcuffed by Cornell's defense, but she still managed to score a game-high 15 points as she went 4-for-8 from the floor, including 2-for-4 from beyond the arc. EArl also pulled down six rebounds.

Lawrence rookie guard KJ Davis scored a season-high 15 points for the Vikings, and Ashley Batac added nine points. Shonell Benjamin posted game highs with nine rebounds and four assists for the Vikings (5-13, 2-9 MWC).

Bella Gonzalez led Cornell (10-6, 6-3) with 14 points and made four 3-pointers, including two from well beyond the arc.

The game was tight throughout the first three quarters as it was tied after one, Lawrence led by one at halftime and tied again after three. Lawrence led by as many as five in the third quarter, and the game was tied six times through the first three periods.

Cornell got 3-pointers from Rose Shimaoka and Gonzalez early in the fourth as the Rams built a 53-47 edge. Lawrence went 1-for-6 from the floor to start the final quarter before Davis' jumper cut the lead to 55-49 with 4:54 left.

Lawrence then missed its next seven shots from the floor, but the Vikings had one offensive outburst left in them. Lawrence trailed 57-49 when it got a four-point possession. Earl made one free throw, and the Vikings grabbed the offensive rebound on her miss on the second foul shot. Earl then buried a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 57-53 with 49 seconds left.

The teams traded misses before Gonzalez made a pair of free throws with 16 seconds left for a 59-53 lead. The Vikings came out of a timeout, and Earl hit another 3-pointer to cut the lead to 59-56 with 14 seconds remaining.

Tara Hansel then made two free throws with eight seconds left to seal the victory.