November 28, 2008
Hokies hang on to defeat Hawks, 66-63
By Matt Kovatch - Inside Hokie Sports
St. Joseph's (2-3) 323163
Virginia Tech (5-0) 363066
  • Memorial Gymnasium, Nashville, Tenn. - 3,800
  • High Points: 17 - Lindsay Biggs
  • High Rebounds: 8 - Shani Grey

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Virginia Tech women’s basketball team survived a close call on Friday evening at the Vanderbilt Thanksgiving Tournament, edging the St. Joseph’s Hawks, 66-63, to improve to 5-0 the season and advance to the championship game against the host Commodores to be played Saturday.

With its fifth straight win, Tech equaled its longest winning streak from last season and begins a season 5-0 for the first time since going 12-0 to begin the 2005-06 campaign. St. Joes’s fell to 2-3 with the loss.

The contest was close throughout, as neither squad led by more than six until Utahya Drye hit a layup with 3:03 remaining to put Tech up by eight, 63-55. Two minutes later, though, the Hawks had pulled within three thanks to a Mariame Djouara jumper and an Amy Gillespie 3-pointer from the corner.

After getting fouled, Tech’s Shani Grey calmly converted a 1-and-1 situation with 42.9 seconds remaining to push the Hokies’ lead back to five, but Gillespie quickly answered back, this time with an old-fashioned three-point play, by making a layup and the free throw that followed the foul.

Now a 65-63 Tech lead with 28.4 ticks left, the Hokies threw away the inbounds pass and St. Joe’s had the ball under its own hoop as it called a timeout. The Hawks got exactly what they wanted, a wide-open Jenna Loschiavo 3-pointer (she nailed four 3-pointers in the game), but the shot was off and Grey grabbed her eighth rebound of the game.

Grey dished it to Laura Haskins, who was fouled with 22.6 seconds left and converted just one of two free throws to make it 66-63, leaving the Hawks with another chance. Djourara was fouled by Grey with 11.8 ticks left but failed to answer, and Loschiavo let loose en errant 3-point attempt in a last-second effort to tie the game.

The Hokies had three players score in double figures, each of whom just missed out on recording career highs. Lindsay Biggs led the way with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting one game after scoring a personal-best 19 against George Mason. Drye poured in 15 points, 13 of which came in second half, while Amber Hall tallied 14, including 10 in the first half, and three blocks.

“I just kept telling myself to let the game to come to me and to let the offense come to me through my defense,” Hall said. “It was nice to hit those shots. Our team is lot more aware of each other and our chemistry keeps getting better and better.”

St. Joe’s was led by Brittany Ford’s 19 points and Loschiavo’s 12. Djouara and Gillespie each notched 11, while Ashley Logue grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.

The Hokies will conclude the tournament by taking on 17th-ranked Vanderbilt on Saturday at 5 p.m. Eastern.

For updates on Virginia Tech women's basketball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_WBBall).

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