Earl pours in 29 points as Vikings drop tight battle with Monmouth

Lawrence women's basketball Kenya Earl action
Kenya Earl (34) scored a game-high 29 points against Monmouth.

APPLETON, Wis. -- Lawrence University women's basketball star Kenya Earl poured in 29 points Saturday, but Monmouth College held off the Vikings 69-59 in a Midwest Conference game at Alexander Gymnasium.

Earl went 12-for-17 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, and picked up five rebounds for the Vikings. This is the fifth game this season that Earl has scored at least 25 points in a game.

Shonell Benjamin added eight points and nine rebounds for the Vikings (5-14, 2-10 MWC), and Emma Carlson pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to go with six points. 

Becca Gallis scored 27 points, going 13-for-13 from the foul line, to pace Monmouth (15-4, 10-2).

Lawrence hung with the first-place team in the MWC right until the final minutes. Monmouth led 52-45 early in the fourth quarter until back-to-back baskets in the paint trimmed the margin to 52-49 with 6:59 remaining.

The Scots pushed the lead back to eight at 61-53, but Earl buried a 3-pointer with 2:49 left and had a chance to pull closer. After a Monmouth miss, the Vikings missed a pair of 3-pointers before a layup by Gallis gave the Scots a 63-56 edge.

Lawrence would get no closer than seven in the final minute.

Monmouth jumped out to an 8-0 lead, but Lawrence quickly jumped back into the game. The Vikings went on a 14-6 run, started by an Earl 3-pointer and capped by Erin Hill's 3-pointer, to tie the game at 14-14. 

Lawrence took its first lead early in the second quarter at 20-19 on Hill's layup, and the Vikings led by as many as three points before the Scots rallied to grab a 30-29 advantage at the half.

The Scots put on a burst late in the third quarter and led 46-39 before Earl's layup cut that margin to 46-41 heading to the fourth.