Longwood women’s basketball stars Kyla McMakin and Tra’Dayja Smith do a lot together. Sunday night after taking down Big South preseason favorite Campbell, they did something together they’ve never done before: appear on ESPN SportsCenter in less than a week.
After Smith earned a SportsCenter Top 10 countdown appearance this past Wednesday, McMakin matched her Lancer teammate with a Top 10 appearance of her own early Monday morning with her buzzer-beating three-pointer that lifted Longwood to a 54-52 win over the reigning Big South champions.
McMakin came in at No. 3 Monday on ESPN’s daily countdown of the top 10 plays in the nation, following Smith’s No. 5 highlight on Wednesday’s list. McMakin’s top-three highlight beat out a number of professional athletes, including LeBron James and Nikola Jokic in the NBA and several NFL playoff clips.
The national spotlight found its way to McMakin, and by extension Longwood, after she sank a heavily contested three-pointer in the closing seconds of Longwood’s rematch with the Fighting Camels Sunday in Buies Creek, N.C. Trailing 52-51 with just 3.5 seconds left, McMakin corralled an inbounds pass from freshman teammate Brooke Anya, ran around Anya’s screen and uncorked a long three-pointer over the top of a Campbell defender. The high-arcing shot splashed through at the buzzer, cementing a 54-52 Longwood win and immediately putting McMakin in the center of a Lancer dog pile.
The shot capped a fourth-quarter flurry for McMakin, who scored Longwood’s last nine points in the final 1:19 and finished with a team-high 17. She currently ranks second in the Big South in scoring after leading the league in that category as a true freshman in 2019-20.
A native of Virginia Beach, Va., and a Preseason All-Big South first-team selection, McMakin is the 11th Lancer to appear on the ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 since Longwood joined the Big South in 2012-13. The most recent of those was Smith, while others have included Madison Blair (softball), Kaylynn ‘Bug’ Batten (softball), Tristan Carey (men’s basketball), Emilie Kupsov (women’s soccer), Emily Murphy (softball), Janese Quick (women’s soccer), JaShaun Smith (men’s basketball), Jessica Smith (softball) and Lucas Woodhouse (men’s basketball).