Longwood holds off Mount St. Mary’s in women’s First Four

NCAA_Mount_St_Marys_Longwood_Basketball_97860 Longwood players run onto the court to celebrate their victory over Mount St. Mary's as time expires in the first-four round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, March 17, 2022.
NCAA_Mount_St_Marys_Longwood_Basketball_01956 Longwood's Akila Smith (13) drives against Mount St. Mary's Isabella Hunt (00) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, March 17, 2022.
NCAA_Mount_St_Marys_Longwood_Basketball_01383 Longwood's Tra'Dayja Smith (14) drives against Mount St. Mary's Jada Lee, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, March 17, 2022.
NCAA_Mount_St_Marys_Longwood_Basketball_44055 Mount St. Mary's Kendall Bresee (3) handles the ball as Longwood's Akila Smith (13) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, March 17, 2022.
NCAA_Mount_St_Marys_Longwood_Basketball_06276 Mount St. Mary's Kendall Bresee, left, battles for the ball with Longwood's Akila Smith (13) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, March 17, 2022.
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Akila Smith had 32 points and 13 rebounds, Kyla McMakin added 18 points with four 3-pointers and No. 16 seed Longwood led by 22 points before holding off Mount St. Mary’s 74-70 on Thursday night in an inaugural First Four game.

Longwood (22-11) will take a 10-game winning streak into a Saturday contest with ACC champion North Carolina State (29-3), the top seed of the Bridgeport Region. The Lancers are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance — three years removed from finishing with a 3-27 record.

Longwood scored the opening 13 points of the game, with eight from Smith, and led the rest of the way.

It was 36-18 at halftime — with 18 points and eight rebounds from Smith.

Mount St. Mary’s was 1 of 13 from 3-point range in the first half — nearly getting a second from Kendall Bresee on a half-court shot at the buzzer but it was waved off after a video review.

Longwood had its lead cut to 55-43 entering the fourth quarter. The Mount made six of their first eight 3-pointers of the second half and got within 57-50, but Smith scored the next six points for a 13-point lead with 5:07 left. Tra’Dayja Smith made 5 of 6 free throws in the final 30 seconds to help Longwood keep a two-possession lead.

Mount St. Mary’s (16-13), which only had seven available players due to injuries, lost for the first time in seven games.

Bresee, averaging a team-high 17.4 points a game, scored 15 of her 20 points in the third quarter for the Mount. She had just two points in the first half.

Mount St. Mary’s missed its first 10 shots of the game, eight coming from 3-point range, before ending its scoreless drought with 4:11 remaining on two free throws by Jada Lee. The Mount finished the first quarter shooting just 1 for 16, including 0 for 9 behind the arc.

Mount St. Mary’s was making its second straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament after entering the bubble in San Antonio as a No. 15 seed and falling in the first round to Maryland 98-45.

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More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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