BLACKSBURG, VA – UNC Greensboro's women's basketball team put three players in double figures and erased nearly all of an 18-point halftime deficit, but couldn't quite finish the comeback in falling to Virginia Tech 59-53 to open the 2008-09 campaign.
Lakiah Hyson and Amanda Leigh had 11 points each for the Spartans (0-1), while Gini Grimsley added 10. Agne Girstautaite finished with a career-high nine rebounds to share game-high honors.
Virginia Tech (1-0) was led by Utahya Drye's15 points. Lindsay Biggs had 14 and Lakeisha Logan had 12.
Coming out of the locker room for the second half facing a 37-19 deficit, the Spartans rattled off a quick 7-0 run to force a Virginia Tech timeout. Grimsley had a jumper and a 3 in the spurt.
The Hokies recovered to restore their lead, even expanding it 19 at 47-28.That's when the Spartans took over, with Leigh and Grimsley hitting back-to-back 3s before a Hyson steal and breakaway layup to make it an 11-point game. A Brittany Gordon free throw pushed the Hokies' lead back to 12, but a Girstautaite layup and three points from Monique Floyd got the deficit down to seven.
Virginia Tech got a free throw and a jumper to make the score 51-41, but that was the last time the lead would be in double digits. The Spartans ran off another 7-0 run, with Floyd and Hyson both successfully converting one-and-one free throw chances to cut the lead to three.
The comeback stalled there, as Drye hit a pair of free throws and Biggs hit a layup to stretch the lead back to seven. UNCG got it back to five on another pair of Hyson free throws, but that was as close as it would get.
Floyd finished with nine points and eight rebounds, while Leigh had an impressive debut for the Spartans. The redshirt sophomore, who transferred from Winthrop last year, had seven rebounds and a pair of assists in addition to her 11 points. Hyson had four assists and a pair of steals to go with her 11. Girstautaite had three blocks to match her career high, while Grimsley had two.
The Spartans outscored the Hokies in the second half 34-22. The rebounding battle was even in the second half at 22 apiece. For the game, Virginia Tech had the rebounding edge, 49-29.
UNCG outshot Virginia Tech, 33.3 percent to 32.9.
With the loss, UNCG falls to 1-7 all-time against the Hokies. Six of eight games have been decided by nine points or fewer.
Freshmen Agneta Morkunaite and Sarah Folwell and junior college transfer Dee Corbett all saw their first career action for UNCG.
Redshirt senior Kristen Boone injured her knee in the first three minutes of the game and did not return. Boone missed all but six minutes of last season with an injury to the same knee.
The road gets no easier for the Spartans as they face another ACC foe when they take on Wake Forest at 7 p.m. Monday in Winston-Salem, NC.
VIRGINIA TECH 59, UNC GREENSBORO 53
UNC GREENSBORO (0-1)
Lakiah Hyson 3-10 5-5 11; Amanda Leigh 3-8 4-5 11; Gini Grimsley 4-9 0-0 10; Monique Floyd 3-6 3-4 9; Tashama Banner 2-4 0-0 4; Agne Girstautaite 1-4 1-5 3; Ashley Mullins 1-4 0-0 3; Dee Corbett 1-3 0-2 2; Kendra Smith 0-6 0-0 0; Kristen Boone 0-0 0-0 0; Sarah Folwell 0-0 0-0 0; Agneta Morkunaite 0-0 0-0
0. Totals 18-54 13-21 53.
VIRGINIA TECH (1-0)
Utahya Drye 6-13 3-3 15; Lindsay Biggs 5-14 2-2 14; Lakeisha Logan 5-9 0-0 12; Laura Haskins 4-11 0-0 8; Brittany Gordon 2-5 1-2 5; Shanel Harrison 0-4 3-4 3; Elizabeth Basham 1-6 0-0 2; Shani Grey 0-8 0-0 0. Totals 23-70 9-11 59.
UNC Greensboro................ 19
34 - 53
Virginia Tech................. 37 22 - 59
3-point goals--UNC Greensboro 4-11 (Gini Grimsley 2-4; Amanda Leigh 1-3; Ashley Mullins 1-2; Kendra Smith 0-1; Lakiah Hyson 0-1), Virginia Tech 4-15 (Lindsay Biggs 2-6; Lakeisha Logan 2-6; Shanel Harrison 0-1; Elizabeth Basham 0-1; Laura Haskins 0-1). Fouled out--UNC Greensboro-Gini Grimsley, Virginia Tech-None. Rebounds--UNC Greensboro 39 (Agne Girstautaite 9), Virginia Tech 49 (Shani Grey 9; Utahya Drye 9). Assists--UNC Greensboro 9 (Lakiah Hyson 4), Virginia Tech 16 (Lindsay Biggs 5). Total fouls—UNC Greensboro 15, Virginia Tech 20. Technical fouls--UNC Greensboro-None, Virginia Tech-None. A-2080
- UNCG -