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Women’s basketball: Seahawks spoil Longwood 2018-19 home debut

Led by a double-double effort from Emilija Krista Grava with 18 points, 14 rebounds and 18 points from Taylah Simmons, Wagner spoiled the 2018-19 home debut of the Longwood women’s basketball team 86-60 in a Wednesday matinee inside Willett Hall.

Krista Grava scored 12 of her game-high 18 points in the opening half and added a season-high 14 boards to secure her first double-double of the season. Her third straight game in double figures, Krista Grava led five Seahawks that finished in double figures, as she was part of Wagner’s starting five of Simmons, Alayshia Dailey, Nakylia Carter and Khaleah Edwards that combined for 69 of the Seahawks’ 86 points.

“Credit to Wagner. They had a long trip to get here and they really came in focused in that first quarter,” said Longwood first-year head coach Rebecca Tillett. “We didn’t do a good job of responding to that right away. Once we had a response, it was a little too late.

“The thing that is most surprising for our staff so far is that our team is giving us more behind the scenes, in practice. We haven’t shown it in a game yet, so that’s promising in the fact that we know they have more to give.”

Wagner (1-2) was able to overcome the second straight game in double figures from Longwood’s (0-2) Mallory Odell, who finished Wednesday with 11 points after scoring 10 in Friday’s opener at VCU. It marks the first time in Odell’s career that she’s finished back-to-back games in double figures.

“Mallory is extremely coachable and is really trying to do everything that we’re teaching,” Tillett said. “One of the challenges with a brand new staff is that everything is new for everyone. She’s done a great job of taking everything that we teach and apply it.”

Stephanie Guihon added nine points for the Lancers in 32 minutes, joining Dayna Rouse. Kristina Antonenko finished with eight points, seven rebounds while Ciarah Bennett also added eight points.

With their combined 36 points, Krista Grava and Simmons paced the Seahawks to a .540 shooting clip and a 9-of-16 performance from beyond the arc to spoil the home coaching debut of Tillett.

Longwood was able to close the margin to 13 points at the end of the second quarter but Simmons scored six of the first 15 points of the second half to help the Seahawks increase their lead to 25 points.

Simmons joined Krista Grava with 18 points on, securing her first game in double figures on the season with a 7-of-19 performance.

Longwood will have 13 days to prepare for its second straight home game, as the Lancers welcome Maryland Eastern Shore to Willett Hall Tuesday, Nov. 27. That game is set for a 7 p.m. opening tip.

“This is a unique opportunity to have this long of a break,” Tillett said. “We want to use it to our advantage and try to fix some of the things in practice that we’re struggling with.”