When it was announced that Longwood would not be having fall sports, it left the Lancer faithful starved of the chance to cheer on their favorite teams. But as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. The NCAA announced that the 2020 women’s basketball season would begin on November 25.
Head coach Rebecca Tillett gave her reaction to the news. “When you’re in coaching, you have to look at the positives in everything, hold out hope that you’re going to play. When we knew for sure that we were having a season, there was a lot of celebration from players and coaches.”
Tillett went on to discuss how having an official start date affects preparation. “It gave us a sense of normalcy. In order to be fluid and work within COVID, we need to be ready for anything. We need to work on depth because some of the models for our schedule had us playing three games in a row and we would need to utilize our entire roster for that.”
Tillett also mentioned that it has not been all bad and that the pandemic has provided her team a chance to grow closer to one another. “Both the pandemic and the unrest in our country surrounding racism have helped our team come closer together because it demands honest conversations with each other. These kinds of things can help a team become closer or not, but in the case of our team, I think it helped us grow closer.”
But of course, Tillett was not the only one who was excited about a start date being set for the season. Sophomore guard Kyla McMakin, who had a breakout freshman season and won Big South freshman of the year, provided her input. “I was ecstatic. It was nice to know that all of our hard work will pay off.”
McMakin added that since the season is officially happening, she had set a high standard in terms of goals for herself and her team. “I want to be ranked higher in terms of steals, and play better defensively. In terms of team goals, we want to win the Big South and be ranked higher defensively.”
Now the big question revolves around what the season will look like. We have seen college football teams playing conference-only schedules and Tillett added that her team would follow a similar format. “We are planning at this moment to have a 20-game conference schedule and five non-conference games.” Tillett also responded to if fans would be allowed to a certain capacity or not. “I think it’s a case-by-case basis when it comes to institutions. The NCAA hasn’t specifically said no to that but there are certainly restrictions and guidelines that need to be met to keep everyone safe. Those decisions will be forthcoming within the next few weeks.”