Campbell fends off the Lancers

Published 1:30 pm Thursday, February 10, 2022

In the battle for first in Farmville, it was free throws and second chances that made all the difference. Campbell topped the Lancers 58-45 Saturday afternoon, giving the home team their first loss in over two weeks.

In a low scoring performance on both sides, Longwood (12-11, 9-3 Big South) was the one put into early team foul trouble with the Camels shooting in the bonus from mid third quarter for the rest of the game. Campbell (16-5, 10-2 Big South) did finish the game .667 percent from the free throw line, but it was still enough to outlast a huge second half rally made by Longwood.

“I think we gave the people what they were looking for in a one-one matchup,” said head coach Rebecca Tillett on the tough loss Saturday afternoon. “I thought our defense did the things that we really wanted it to do. On offensive, I don’t think we could really find our rhythm, and when we started to it was a little too late. We need to share the ball, because that’s what we do. When we did share the ball, people just weren’t hitting shots today. We held them to 34 percent shooting, so it was hard for them to make shots which is very important to us.”

“I think we’re obviously upset when we lose and how we lost, but there’s always something to learn,” said grad-guard Tra’Dayja Smith. “There is still a chance that we can be number one, or tied for number.”

Brittney Staves, Luana Serranho, and Taya Bolden led the Camels on the scoring end with a pair of 13 points from Staves and Bolden, and Serranho grabbing a game-high of 18 points, tied with Akila Smith’s finish. Bolden added her 13th double-double of the season on Saturday pairing her 13 points with 15 rebounds. Bolden broke the Campbell career record of total double-doubles Saturday afternoon (37).

Campbell held Longwood to below 10 points in two quarters Saturday (1st and 4th), a first of the season for the Lancers. The Smith duo of Tra’Dayja Smith and Akila Smith led the Lancers in a fourth quarter push that came up a little bit short. The Smith’s, alongside teammate Kyla McMakin combined for 44 of the teams 45 final points. The lone extra point was made by Brooke Anya.

“To beat a number one team, you have to do things you’ve never done before,” said Smith about her five point swing to end the third quarter. “If that’s what my team needs from me, that’s what I have to do. We have to fix things on the defensive side, and on offense. When we go up against other teams we just have to emphasize on certain stuff more than we are.”

Down 10 at halftime, Longwood rallied for the final 20 as best as they could, bringing the gap to as close as five at one point, but with 2:07 left, Serranho hit a pair of foul shots that sealed the deal.

“I think we just turned over the ball too much. Then they were the aggressors when getting to the free throw line,” said Tillett. “When you’re down by ten, you have to make the run for it, which we did, but we have to do it without fouling so they don’t get points back on the other end. We definitely got better today, specifically against them and stopping the things they try to do to us.”

It was the defensive battle both teams expected in the battle for first in the Big South, but with a lot more basketball left in February for both squads, Longwood prepares for its adjustment to be made.

The Lancers have a week off before its next matchup that will be next Saturday, Feb. 12 on the road against Winthrop.