Alumna excels during freshman basketball season

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Longwood women's basketball

McMakin dribbles ball during Longwood's possession.

Ally Hudome, Staff Writer

Kyla McMakin, class of 2019 alumna, dominates her freshman season as a basketball player at Longwood University. She averages 33.3 minutes, 16.8 points, and 5.1 rebounds per game.

While at Ocean Lakes, McMakin was named 2019 Regional Player of the Year, Virginia Beach 2019 Player of the Year, 2019 first-team All-Region, and she is also a two-time All-Tidewater first team member. 

“Kyla had always worked hard whether it was on the court or outside of school; she deserves to be where she is at in her career,” said junior Gabby Steinhauser, a former teammate. 

At Longwood, McMakin has received not one, not two, but five Big South Freshman of the Week recognitions, and she currently holds the number one title in scoring in the Big South.

“I enjoyed playing with her; she worked so hard and made the people around her better. I’m proud of the things she’s accomplished in college,” said previous teammate, Hannah Moore.

When she was young, McMakin started playing basketball because her dad played, and she looked up to him. 

“My favorite part about playing basketball is the competition. I love winning and constantly battling for a win the whole game,” said McMakin. 

The recruiting process for any sport is challenging, but basketball is particularly difficult because so many talented athletes want the same offers. McMakin struggled to find offers during her early high school career but secured several by the end of her senior season. 

“I chose Longwood because they felt like family to me. I knew they were going to take care and prepare me not just for basketball but for life,” said McMakin.

The transformation from high school to college challenges any student. In particular, student-athletes, swamped with practices, classes, and forming a new social environment, struggle to adapt to the fast-paced college lifestyle. 

“At first, everything was so much faster in college. The game, school, everything. I am constantly moving as a student-athlete and have very little time to relax. Only now am I starting to slow down for a little,” said McMakin.