Lancers set multiple milestones with win over Charleston Southern

Published 1:06 pm Friday, February 4, 2022

Sealing the deal in the third quarter on Wednesday night, Longwood ran away for another astronomical win over the Charleston Southern Buccaneer’s on their home court, 91-59.

Longwood (12-10, 9-2 Big South) marked its first 40 point quarter in the third against the Buc’s, while also holding the conference foe to only nine that same 10 minutes of play. Putting up one of the best quarters across the team for the Lancers this season, the lead was too large for the Bucs to catch.

“Every conference game is a good one for us, and Charleston Southern is under some new leadership and doing some really great things,” said Coach Ka’lia Johnson. “In the second half they really played to our pace of game, and for us to put up a 40-point quarter is really great. If we play ‘LWB basketball’ – it’s going to be a good game for us.”

Sluggish out the gate, the Lancers came back out in quarter two blazing, going on a 10-5 run over the first 8:30 of the quarter. Adriana Shipp, Anne-Hamilton LeRoy, Tra’Dayja Smith, and Akila Smith all contributed to the oncoming rout by the home squad. The Buccaneers (2-18, 2-7 Big South) lead by five at the start of the second quarter and never led again after Longwood took the lead.

“Tillett came in at halftime and she does what she does to motivate us,” said junior guard Kyla McMakin. “We knew we had to pick it up and just play with more joy, more heart and more passion and I thought in the second half we all came out and did that. We had people like Kenn and Adriana who came out and rose to that level, and then we were able to pick it up together as a team.”

In the 40 point third quarter performance for Longwood, it was the upperclassman vets Kyla McMakin, Akila Smith, and Tra’Dayja Smith who combined for 21, with teammates Brooke Anya adding four, and Briana Johns and Shipp adding a bucket each.

“It’s so important for us to be hard to guard, from top to bottom. When you get five players in double-digits, that’s really hard to guard,” said Coach Johnson. “All those women who were able to get that accomplishment, that’s them being aggressive, that’s them getting inside the zone, that’s them not settling for the easy shot, but the best shot.”

“We’re such an explosive offensive team, a little slow in the first quarter, but we were able to have short term memory loss and shake it off,” said McMakin. “Beating the team assist record is a pretty big deal for us because we’re big on sharing the ball, so, it was pretty cool to be on that side of history tonight.”

Along with putting up the team’s first 90 plus scoring game, Longwood set another record. A team that values sharing the ball came in clutch Wednesday with the team collecting 26 assists, the most team assists in a single-game, two more than the previous record set in the 2017-28 season.

“This is great for our women, continuing to set all these records. It speaks to what we’re trying to do as a program,” said Coach Johnson. “It speaks to where we are, where we want to go, and it aligns really well with some of important core values.”

“I just want to shout out Coach Tillett. We’ve been here for four years [Akila Smith and Milou Vennema], and where she’s taken this program is, it’s amazing,” said senior forward Akila Smith on the progress of the program over her last four years.

McMakin and A. Smith finished the game with a pair of 18 points each, following directly by T. Smith who collected 14 points going 3-5 behind the arch. Along with the “big three” upperclassman vets, Shipp and LeRoy cashed in with double-digits on the night showing out the first time all year Longwood had five double-figure scorers.

“Whatever I have to do for my teammates, I’ll do to get the win,” said Akila Smith. “It starts in practice. Our coaches push us nonstop, especially on the defensive side and that feeds into every game.”

Charleston Southern was short five players Wednesday evening, leaving the team with only two subs on the bench – and that was before Madison Adamson fouled out early in the fourth quarter. Despite overcoming the challenge of being short bodies, Tori Gittens showed out for the Buc’s grabbing 17 points, going 3-7 behind the arch while also collecting seven rebounds and two assists. Sharita Godfrey and Janaia Fargo also combined for 23 each grabbing double-digits points, with Fargo added five more assists on the year as well.

Longwood’s game planning used a fast-paced attack deemed on Wednesday to take advantage of Charleston Southern’s limited depth.

“We aren’t really ever satisfied with anything even though we got the dub,” said Smith. “We have to continue picking that up leading into Saturday. We just have to get better every day and just stay in the moment. We have been practicing mindfulness, so just continue listening to our coaches and keep applying it.”

Longwood’s next game will be a battle of the best teams in the Big South. The Lancers will take on the Fighting Camels of Campbell as the two square off for the second time this season at 3 p.m. on Saturday in Willett Hall.

“We have to come out from the jump and be that aggressor we have been from the jump,” said McMakin looking forward to Saturday. “We are a great offensive team, but if we can play both sides of the ball, and let out defense feed that offensive push, we’ll be unstoppable. Campbell is a good team, and it’s going to be a good matchup, but we’re confident going into it, knowing it’ll be a battle from start to finish.”