FARMVILLE, Va. – A statement win.
It was a fight to the final buzzer, but it was Longwood who took down the reigning Big South Champions the High Point Panthers 77-63 on Tuesday night in stellar fashion.
Longwood (10-10, 7-2 Big South) did what they came there to do in High Point, NC on Tuesday with a double-digit victory over High Point (6-11, 3-3 Big South). In first half action, Longwood came out as the aggressor with pressure on defense and junior guard Kyla McMakin’s hot hand. McMakin grabbed eight alone in the first quarter, 11 in the first half with teammates Akila Smith and Adriana Shipp adding to the total creating a modest seven point lead going into halftime.
It was not secret it was going to be a physical battle full of back and forth action on both teams. Early in the game the two exchanged runs evenly, feeding into the highly anticipated matchup. Smith owned the paint on Longwood’s end, with all eight of her first half points within the 15-foot mark. Shipp showcased her confidence in attacking the basket and earning points at the free throw line, going 4-4, and finished with six points total in the first half.
Free throws are make or break some might say – on Tuesday it seemed to be the difference. In the first half alone, the Lancers’ free throw percentage was the difference maker as the team shot 75.0 percent (83.3 percent final) while High Point was less than 50 (50.0 percent final).
A historic season for Longwood had a new addition on Tuesday, with history being made by McMakin. McMakin not only hit a final second three to go into halftime, she hit one out of the gun in the third quarter to push her past the 20 point mark (25 points total) putting her tied for the program record for most consecutive 20 plus games in a row (4).
A shaky first quarter dug the Panthers in a hole they couldn’t fight out of. Closing the second quarter with an 11-3 run in Longwood’s favor set the tone for the second half. Switching leads up until that point, Longwood came out ready to dominate in the fourth quarter and held the Panthers with no score for three minutes to start the final 10 minutes of the game.
Despite another great offensive performance by the Lancers, High Point’s Jordan Edwards, Cydney Johnson, and Claire Wyatt carried the offensive push for the Panthers, Wyatt with a final 15 points going 6-15 from the field with six rebounds lead the fast breaks. It was Jenson Edwards in the first half with 10 rebounds (finish 11) who allowed the second chances early for the Panthers.
Second chance opportunities wins games. A trend that has been the difference between wins and loses for the Lancers all season long. Tonight it was Longwood who out played their opponent for those second chances – and it made that difference.
As for Longwood, they have now strung together yet another game with four players scoring in double figures (McMakin 25, A. Smith 13, Tra’Dayja Smith 19, Shipp 10). Tra’Dayja Smith kept her hand hot from behind the arch grabbing two more three pointers on the year and going 4-10 from the field, while adding five assists to her total, putting her with 104 assists on the year.
Longwood finishes its three games in a four day span 3-0, improving its overall record to 10-10. They prepare for its next game this Saturday against Radford in another fight on the road.