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CHARLOTTESVILLE The 15th-ranked Virginia women’s basketball team defeated in-state and ACC foe Virginia Tech, 69-61, Sunday at John Paul Jones Arena. Lyndra Littles was the Cavaliers’ high scorer with 23 points, while Monica Wright added 22 points and six steals and Aisha Mohammed just missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.

Virginia improved to 19-5 overall, 5-3 in ACC play and 13-2 at home this season in front of a season-high 6,281 fans at JPJA.

Virginia Tech (11-13, 1-8 ACC) jumped out to a 7-0 lead before Virginia got on the scoreboard with a jumper from Littles with 17:52 left.

The Hokies extended their lead to as many as 15 points, but Virginia chipped away and tied the score, 25-25, with 5:05 left in the half on a basket and foul shot by Wright. Wright’s old-fashioned 3-point play capped off a 17-2 run by Virginia that ignited the Cavalier offense.

The teams traded baskets the last few minutes of the half, with Virginia holding a slim 35-32 lead at the break.

In the second half, Virginia created some separation and took a 51-46 lead on back-to-back steals and fast-break lay-ups by Littles and Wright. From there, Virginia held its ground to come away with the 69-61 victory.

Virginia improved to 32-10 in the all-time series with Virginia Tech, and won its fourth-straight against the Hokies.

Head coach Debbie Ryan, who earned her 694th career victory, got solid contributions from several Cavaliers. Kelly Hartig grabbed six boards, scored three points and dished out four assists, while Britny Edwards (two points, one block), Whitny Edwards (four rebounds, one steal), Ariana Moorer (four points) and Kristen London (two points, two rebounds) all saw key minutes of action.

Sunday was National Girls and Women in Sports Day at John Paul Jones Arena. NGWS brings national attention to the achievements of female athletes and to issues facing girls and women in sport. Sunday’s event was co-sponsored by the University of Virginia Athletic Department and the University of Virginia Women’s Center.

As part of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, the lifelong achievements of Barbara Kelly, a member of the Virginia athletics department staff for 38 years and one of the driving forces behind the creation and development of a nationally competitive women’s intercollegiate athletics program at UVa, were recognized. Kelly’s plans to retire in 2009 were recently announced

Up next, Virginia heads to College Park, Md., for a rematch with Maryland on Thursday, Feb. 12. Tip-off from Comcast Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Looking ahead, Sunday, Feb. 22 vs. Boston College at 5 p.m. is Fan Appreciation Night at John Paul Jones Arena. Throughout the game, fans will be selected to receive various Nike prizes courtesy of the women’s basketball team. This night provides the opportunity to thank all of the fans that support the women’s basketball program throughout the year.

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