Multiple Lancers earn Big South honors

Published 11:01 am Wednesday, March 20, 2024

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Senior guard Janay Turner has been named an All-Big South Conference honorable mention selection, the league announced recently, leading a group of three Lancers to earn postseason women’s basketball honors from the conference. 

Freshman forward Otaifo Esenabhalu earned a spot on the Big South All-Freshman Team, while senior guard Bailey Williams is Longwood’s representative on the league’s all-academic team. 

A Chicago native, Turner leads the team in scoring at 11.8 points per game despite missing the last six games to injury. She has scored double figures in 13 games and led the team in scoring in six of them, while scoring 20-plus points at Ohio on Nov. 29, versus USC Upstate on Jan. 17 and against Regent Jan. 27, all victories. Turner’s 24 points on 10-for-15 shooting marked a career high. 

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She also is tops on the team in 3-point percentage at 37.5, shooting 36-of-96, going a perfect 5-for-5 from downtown Nov. 12 against Chowan. In 23 games and 22 starts this season, Turner has also contributed 2.1 rebounds, one steal and 0.7 assists per game, shooting 36.4% from the field and 73.3% from the free-throw line. 

The year-end conference accolade is a first in the NCAA career of Turner, who spent the 2021-22 season at Norfolk State. 

A two-time Big South Freshman of the Week on Nov. 20 and Jan. 29, Esenabhalu has secured two double-doubles on the season with 16 points and 15 rebounds against Regent on Jan. 27 and 10 points and 14 rebounds at High Point on March 2. A Valdosta, Georgia, product, Esenabhalu is tops on the team in rebounds per game (6.9), ranking fifth in the league. 

She is one of eight players in the league to secure at least 15 rebounds in a game this season, having done it three times — at James Madison (15, Nov. 15), versus Regent (15, Jan. 27) and against Gardner-Webb (16, Feb. 28). Appearing in all 29 games with eight starts, Esenabhalu averages 4.9 points per game and shoots 42.3% from the floor. She is tied for the team lead in blocks per game at 0.4. 

Williams, a sociology major with a 3.698 grade-point average, has appeared in all 29 games, playing 20.9 minutes per game, making eight starts. She averages 3.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and two assists per game. 

A Midlothian native, Williams tied her career high with 11 points in a win over Chowan Nov. 12 and swiped a career-best five steals as Longwood defeated Regent on Jan. 27.