Women’s Basketball with their win over Hampton has now tied for first place in the Big South Conference, which is the team’s best season in the Division I era so far. With a season record of 18-11 (15-3 Big South), a six-game win streak, and winning 11 out of their last 12 games, the team moves into the postseason with lots of momentum.
In the past two seasons under the leadership of Head Coach Rebecca Tillet, the Lancers have won at least 10 conference games.
Over the season, the Lancers had averaged 70.8 points per game (PPG). Longwood is ranked #2 in scoring offense, only below Gardner-Webb. In assists, the team is ranked #3, and averaged 14.6 per game (PG).
Guard Kyla McMakin has led the team in points this season, averaging 18.2 PPG. She also has a combined 44 steals and 7 blocks.
“We have so many threats on this team, and it’s really been the last few games all these threats are working together and that’ll help a lot with the postseason coming up,” said McMakin. “We have probably eight other women on the team who can come up with 20 points with ease, so it opens up the court for us.”
In the first five games of the season, the Lancers averaged 66.4 PPG. In their last five games of the season, they have averaged 77 PPG.
Longwood leads the Big South in both blocked shots and steals, highlighting their diversity among the defense. The Lancers have averaged 4.6 blocked shots PG and 10.3 steals PG. Forward Akila Smith, who has set Longwood’s block record in back-to-back seasons (2019-2020 and 2020-2021), has once again set a new season-high combining for 89.
Point Guard Tra’Dayja Smith was a freshman on the team during the 2018-2019 season. The team went 3-27 (2-16 Big South). Since then, they have continued to increase their overall wins and conference wins.
“When I got here, Longwood was never in talk across the conference of being in the top five,” said Smith. “To come from the bottom and put ourselves in a position where it’s possible to be number one, it’s really big, and says a lot about every single person in our program.”
Looking ahead into the postseason, the Lancers will need to win three Big South Tournament games to be assured a bid to the team’s first-ever NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The Big South tournament will be held at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C. For each game, the tickets will cost $15. Longwood University partnering with the SGA will be distributing 150 free tickets on-site, for each tournament bracket, on a first-come-first-served basis.
The Lancers will play the winner of the Radford, the #10 seed, and Hampton, the #7 seed. The game will be on Thursday, March 3. The tip-off will be at 6:00 pm. You can listen live on air on WVHL 92.9 FM or watch the game on ESPN+.