Earl hits game-winning shot as Vikings topple St. Norbert

Lawrence women's basketball celebration
The Vikings topped St. Norbert 58-57 at Alexander Gymnasium.

APPLETON, Wis. -- Lawrence University women's basketball star Kenya Earl scored on a layup with 11 seconds remaining Wednesday to lift the Vikings to a 58-57 Midwest Conference victory over St. Norbert College at Alexander Gymnasium.

Earl finished with a game highs of 20 points and nine rebounds and also collected three blocks. Shonell Benjamin added 14 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals for the Vikings.

The Vikings (6-18, 3-14 MWC) got nine points, four assists and four rebounds from guard Erin Hill, and rookie guard Ashley Batack went 3-for-5 from 3-point range and also finished with nine points. Rookie forward Emma Carlson grabbed seven rebounds to go with three points and a pair of assists.

Macie Zurfluh led St. Norbert (9-15, 8-9) with 15 points.

Lawrence led 48-45 heading to the fourth quarter, but St. Norbert rallied to take a 56-50 lead with 5:46 remaining.

That's when Earl went to work as she scored on back-to-back layups to cut the lead to 56-54 with 3:42 left. After a St. Norbert miss, Benjamin got loose under the basket and scored off a pass from Delaney Brooks, who finished with four assists, to tie the game at 56-56.

After Kaycee Gierczak made a free throw with 2:28 left to put St. Norbert up 57-56, the teams traded misses. Lawrence got a big steal from Batac with 45 seconds left before Hill missed a jumper. Hill scrambled to grab the offensive rebound and the Vikings took a timeout with 27 seconds remaining.

Lawrence got the ball in Earl's hands and she powered for a basket in the paint with 11 seconds left for a 58-57 lead.

St. Norbert looped the ball into Gierczak, but she missed a short jumper and Earl came out of the scramble with the rebound and was fouled with five seconds left. The Green Knights had three fouls to give and committed two more fouls before finally coming up with a steal with 1.3 seconds remaining.

St. Norbert took a timeout and advanced the ball to the frontcourt. The first attempt at an inbounds pass resulted in a near steal by Hill before the ball went back out of bounds with 1.0 seconds left. Carlson knocked the next inbounds pass back out of bounds with 0.7 remaining.

St. Norbert finally got the ball into Boerner but she missed a 10-foot baseline jumper and time expired.

Lawrence led by as many as seven points in the opening quarter and pushed that advantage to 19-10 early in the second quarter. The Green Knights rallied to tie the game at 24-24 before a three-point play by Benjamin gave the Vikings a 27-24 lead at the half.

The Green Knights grabbed the lead back early in the third quarter before a three-point play by Earl and five consecutive points from Benjamin gave the Vikings a 35-29 edge. The Vikings upped that lead to 43-35 on Batac's 3-pointer with 2:34 left in the third before St. Norbert cut the margin back to three points at the end of the quarter.

The win was Lawrence's first over the Green Knights since a 48-47 victory at Schuldes Sports Center on Jan. 21, 2006, a span of 27 games. It was Lawrence's first win over St. Norbert at Alexander Gym since a 57-56 victory on Jan. 11, 2005.