November 13, 2009
Opening night a success as Tech beats Longwood 77-55
By Matt Kovatch - Inside Hokie Sports
12F
Longwood (0-1) 193655
Virginia Tech (1-0) 344377
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 2,125
  • High Points: 15 - Alyssa Fenyn, Utahya Drye
  • High Rebounds: 8 - Brittany Gordon

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Last year, it took the Virginia Tech women’s basketball team 27 games before it had five players tally double-figure scoring in the same game.

This year, it took just one.

Five Hokies, including two freshmen, scored at least 10 points as Tech rolled to a 77-55 victory over visiting Longwood in the 2009-10 season opener on Friday night at Cassell Coliseum.

“When Lindsay Biggs isn’t one of them [scorers in double figures], that makes it even harder to believe,” Tech head coach Beth Dunkenberger said of the Hokies’ balanced attack. “It just shows that we’ve got some depth and that we’ve got some other players who can step up and score.”

Senior Utahya Drye and freshman Alyssa Fenyn each netted 15 points to pace Tech, while sophomore Shanel Harrison (13), junior Nikki Davis (11) and freshman Abby Redick (10) joined them in double digits.

All said, Tech’s five freshmen combined to score 32 points (Aerial Wilson added six and Porschia Hadley had one) and ease the load off of Drye and Biggs.

“I think our freshmen can definitely keep up the scoring,” Drye said. “They all came from really great high school teams and the majority of them were the leading scorers. It relieves some of the pressure off of Lindsay and I, because last year, we felt like we had to score.”

“They’ve [the freshmen] come to Virginia Tech ready to play,” Dunkenberger continued. “They have a smaller learning curve than a lot of kids whom we’ve brought here. They’ve competed at high levels in high school and in AAU.”

Though Fenyn hit just 6-of-14 from the floor, 10 of her 15 points came during a pair of big Hokie runs – one in the first half and one in the second half.

“I was a little nervous coming in, but I was excited too,” Fenyn said of her Hokie debut. “But once the game got going, it was just basketball and we’ve been playing it our whole lives. I think all of the freshmen adjusted to that very well.”

The first 10 minutes was a back-and-forth affair, but Tech then embarked on a 21-4 run – one that included a 5:03 scoreless drought by Longwood – to end the half and enter the break up 34-19.

The Lancers began the second half with six quick points, but Tech responded with a 25-10 run over a span of seven minutes to rebuild the lead. The run was fueled by Tech’s youngsters – Fenyn, Wilson and Harrison combined for 19 of the points – and the Hokies coasted the rest of the way to record their 17th home-opening win in the past 18 tries.

In addition to her 11 points, Davis tied Tech career highs with seven rebounds and six assists. She also made three steals and pushed the pace for Tech all night long.

“It’s great having a bunch of girls coming in who are aggressive on the offensive end,” Davis said. “Today really showed that all of the freshmen have the ability to put the ball in the hole.”

Through the Hokies won handily in this one – they out-rebounded Longwood by 21, scored 20 more points in the paint and dominated in both second-chance and fast-break points – there are still things to work on. Tech shot just 40 percent from the floor and 50 percent from the free-throw line, and gave up 36 second-half points.

“It was fun getting out there and getting the feel back,” Drye said. “We still have things to tweak and things to fix, but it was a great win.”

The Hokies are scheduled to return to action with their first road contest of the year on Monday at VCU. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

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

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