And then there were two

Andy York

The Lawrence University women’s basketball team continued its hot streak with three more wins over Monmouth, Grinnell and Ripon to remain in a tie for the top spot in the MWC. The winner of the regular season gets to host the conference tournament February 25 and 26.
The Vikings got off to a good start this weekend by defeating Monmouth 68-54. The Vikings jumped all over the Scots, leading by 20 points three times in the first half. Monmouth cut the lead to 16 at the half, 37-21.
In the second half, Monmouth steadily cut the lead, getting it down to eight points at 60-52, but that’s as close as they would get. The Vikings’ stifling defense caused 27 Scot turnovers, and LU easily cruised to a 68-54 victory. Claire Getzoff led the Vikings with 17 points. Felice Porrata added 12, and Carrie Van Groll and Jen Jetel added 10 apiece.
Saturday the Vikings faced a rematch with Grinnell. The Vikings had won easily the weekend before, and this Saturday was even easier. The Vikings came out against Grinnell’s press and got several easy lay-ups. The Vikings shot 54 percent in the first half, compared to Grinnell’s 33 percent. The Vikings led by 20 at the half, 45-25, and it wouldn’t get any prettier for the Grinnell fans.
The Vikings shot even better, 58 percent, in the second half. The lay-ups continued, and on family day the Vikings emptied their bench, getting everyone in the game. The Vikings would go on to win 81-59. Porrata led the Vikings with a season-high 26 points. Kelly Mulcahy added 15; Van Groll had 13, and Getzoff 10.
Tuesday night the Vikings took on their archrival, Ripon. The Redhawks and the Vikings came into the game tied with St. Norbert at 8-2 atop the MWC standings. LU got off to a hot start; the team had as big as a 10-point lead in the first half, at 27-17, before the Redhawks came storming back. Ripon closed within six in the closing seconds of the first half, but a Van Groll jumper with three seconds left boosted that lead to eight at the intermission.
The second half was a back and forth battle between two tough teams. LU would run its lead to as high as 14 points, but with five minutes to play, Ripon had cut the LU lead to five points, at 51-46. Van Groll took over, scoring five of the team’s last seven points, which kept LU ahead just enough to pull out a gritty 59-54 victory.
Van Groll led all scorers with 17 points. Porrata had 13 to aid the cause. Janine Emmer. who had 15 points and scored her 1000th career point in the first half, led Ripon. The Vikings are now a game ahead of Ripon, and tied with St. Norbert atop the MWC. The Vikings have a road trip against Knox and Illinois College this weekend before coming back home for Senior Night, against Beloit. That game will tip off at 5:30 Wednesday in Alexander Gym.