A Strong Finish

Women’s basketball building on last season’s success

It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.

The 2012-13 Longwood women’s basketball team carried this mantra with them every day as the squad worked its way toward the VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Conference Championship game.

After being selected 11th in the league’s preseason polls, the young squad proved to everyone that they could compete in the Big South. Head coach Bill Reinson guided his team, made up of just four seniors and nine under- classmen, to an incredible 6-1 start in conference action. After late-season injuries plagued the already short roster, the Lancers faced an uphill battle heading into the postseason as the No. 7 seed for their first appearance at the Big South Championship in Conway, S.C. “I wasn’t surprised that we were picked to finish last,” said Reinson. “We were the only team in the league that had never won a conference game. I believed we were better than that, and I think we proved it.”

Longwood, a team that never stopped pushing or believing, made history at the tournament with three straight postseason wins, knocking off the No. 10 seed Charleston Southern University, the No. 2 seed Winthrop University and the No. 6 seed Radford University to advance to the league’s title game against in-state foe Liberty University on ESPN3. It marked just the third time in Big South history that a No. 7 seed played in the championship game. “The Big South Tournament was very exciting,” said Reinson. “After years of being an independent, we finally had something to play for at the end of the season. The ladies were very confident going down to Myrtle Beach and played some of their best basketball.”

The Lancers closed the season with a 14-19 overall record, matching the program’s win total from the previous two seasons combined. After laying solid groundwork in its first year with the league, Longwood is looking to continue to make great strides in 2013-14. “We want to become a more diverse offensive team, while continuing to utilize pressure defense. Our goal will still be to outwork our opponents,” said Reinson.

Longwood returns nine letterwinners and has added four newcomers for its upcoming campaign. The Lancers will open the new season on the road at Seton Hall University of the new Big East Conference on Friday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m.