Campbell stops Lancers winning streak at four

Published 10:41 am Thursday, January 13, 2022

Two of the top women’s basketball teams in the Big South this season collided in North Carolina, but it was Campbell that had the upper hand against Longwood. The Camels put together a defensive masterpiece in the second half of Tuesday’s game to take down Longwood 69-41.

Campbell (9-3, 3-0 Big South) snapped Longwood’s four-game winning streak without its leading scorer, as Shy Tuelle was watching from the sidelines. Teammates Faith Price, Taya Bolden, and Luana Serranho took charge and led the Camels to a double-digit victory in a tight game of basketball until the final ten minutes.

“Obviously we’re going to learn a lot from this film, and we need to keep the right perspective,” said head coach Rebecca Tillett. “In this league, there is another opportunity to play a really tough team again on Saturday, so we don’t have time to dwell, we just need to stay focused on the process.”

Price had a career best of 22 points to lead all scorers. Serranho had double-digits on the board with 17 points while also collecting six assists and three steals as a key energizer in the Camels defense. Bolden also had a night to remember, earning her fifth straight double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, while also grabbing three steals and two blocks.

“We played a solid half, but in the second half we didn’t do the things we thought we needed to, to beat Campbell,” said Coach Tillett. “Where I thought Campbell did the things they wanted to do, to best us.”

“It’s kind of disappointing, but I don’t want to say that,” said senior forward Akila Smith. “I just don’t think we played like ourselves tonight and I don’t think we executed like our coaches wanted us to. We just have to keep getting better every day, because we’ll see them again. We have to keep putting in the work, practicing hard, listening to our coaches, and we’ll be ready for the next one.”

Meanwhile, the Campbell defense, which came in as the top defensive unit in the league, shut down a Lancer offense (7-9, 4-1 Big South) that has consistently been one of the top units in the league. Akila Smith and Kyla McMakin both hit double digits, with Smith posting a team-high 12 points while McMakin had 10. Smith added four blocks and six rebounds.

McMakin had a hot start in Tuesday night’s game and scored eight in the first half. At the end of the second quarter, Longwood had a five point swing after a pass from McMakin to Smith helped Longwood cut the Campbell lead to three to end the half, but Campbell’s defense took charge after halftime.

The Camels turned 22 Longwood turnovers into 24 points the other way, with the defense keying a 13-4 run in the third quarter to turn a three-point halftime lead to 12. Later in the third, the Camels went on another 7-0 run that extended the lead again, and the gap grew too large to overcome.

“We all just have to keep getting better and encouraging each other moving forward,” said Smith. “I just want to keep reminding the team of how good we can be and we’ll go from there together.”