A winning weekend for Longwood Basketball

Published 8:51 am Tuesday, January 25, 2022

It was a winning weekend for both Longwood basketball programs, with the women’s team closing out a 2-0 weekend with a 85-58 victory over Winthrop. Following a come from behind victory over Gardner-Webb, the Lancers (9-10, 6-2 Big South) led the entire game Sunday over the Eagles in a comfortable double-digit win.

Kyla McMakin linked two standout performances back-to-back scoring 27 on Sunday, with three assists, and one steal. McMakin scored 60 points over the weekend, marking her two best offensive performances so far this season. She was 4-7 from behind the arch to add to Longwood’s 37.5 percent shooting percentage from three.

“It’s always good to win when you play back-to-back games,” McMakin said. “It’s tough on your body, but I thought we had a great mindset. We played a tough team yesterday, and then to come in scoring right out of the gate, putting the pressure on with our offense, I thought that was really great. And our scoring ability, to put up 85 points the day after a tough game was great.”

“Conference is everything,” said Longwood head coach Rebecca Tillett. “When you have an opportunity to be home, you want to take advantage of that. Shooting on your nets, with your fans. I think our women needed that considering the two games previous to these. We’re gearing ourselves up for almost the second half of conference play.”

Tagged with McMakin, Akila Smith had two notable games in the span of just over 24 hours. Smith finished with 16 points while also collecting three blocks and three rebounds. Tra’Dayja Smith also hit a couple big buckets early in the game to help maintain the lead Longwood had the entire game. Smith went 3-5 from three to finish with nine points.

As for the rest of the Lancers, Anne-Hamilton LeRoy and Bri Johns hit the mark on double-digit scoring. As a team, Longwood had the most team assists so far this season with 22 – just two shy of tying the current record back in 2017.  For the first time all season, nine different players played for more than ten minutes.

“I thank my teammates a lot because they do a lot to keep me confident because I’m usually not as confident when I miss my shots,” Johns said. “But Dayday will tell me to keep shooting or pass me the ball and say to shoot it. I have no choice but to shoot.”

“I’m really excited for our women,” said Tillett about the team’s 22 assists being a seaosn high. “You could see at the end, they were really pushing to chase that a little bit. If you’re team is chasing records on assists, you’re in a great place because that’s unselfish basketball. That’s team first. That’s what we’re about. It was really exciting to see them trying to set each other up for great plays.”

Halftime has been the key for the Lancers. The third quarter has been the difference maker in all of the conference games thus far. On Sunday, the third quarter was that difference. Longwood held Winthrop to eight points in the quarter while cashing in 15 points creating the gap large enough where Winthrop didn’t have a chance to catch up.

For the Eagles it was J’Mani and Myra Stirckland who were Winthrop’s leading scorers, combining for 32 of the teams 58. Winthrop was also short five players on Sunday due to taking an abundance of caution for everyone else in the game.

The win on Sunday was Longwood’s sixth conference win, and marked a major bounce-back from falling to Campbell and USC Upstate back-to-back. Longwood has another fast turnaround with its next game being on Tuesday Jan. 25 at High Point. This will be the first meeting of the two teams in the 2021-22 season.