Blacksburg, Va. / Cassell Coliseum --The Robert Morris University women's basketball won its first-ever game against an Atlantic Coast Conference team knocking off Virginia Tech, 66-52, at Cassell Coliseum Saturday afternoon. The Hokies had lost only six non-conference games at home over the past nine seasons before the Colonials (3-5) captured their third consecutive win there Saturday. The Hokies slip to 5-4 with the loss.
"This is a big win for our program," said RMU head coach Sal Buscaglia. "To come in here, and beat an ACC team, this is huge. Our program hasn't beat a BCS school in 15 years. We played the best half of basketball in the first half that I have ever seen us play and then to hold on. This is big."
Robert Morris last knocked off a BCS opponent in 1994, topping West Virginia 88-80 in overtime. That was the only win by the program over a BCS school in team history before Saturday.
Senior guard Yohanna Morton (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic / Dominican National Team) scored 20 points and had a career-high eight assists to lead all scorers. She was 7-of-16 from the field and added six rebounds and two steals in 39 minutes.
Freshman Artemis Spanou (Rhodes, Greece / Greek National Team) equaled her career-high for points with 18, hitting four of her seven three-pointers. Senior Kristine Silaraja (Ventspils, Latvia / Barton County C.C.) chipped with 16 points, three assist and two steals.
Both team's came out hot, racing to a 17-17 tie with 12:11 left in the first half. The Hokies rode the hot shooting of Alyssa Fenyn who scored 11 of the team's first 17 points.
A Kelly Hartwell (Woodbridge, Va. / Gar-Field) put-back sparked an 16-5 run by the Colonials that featured a pair of old-fashioned three-point plays by Morton, five points from Spanou and a Silaraja three-ball. A long-jumper by Silaraja at the first half buzzer gave the Colonials a 44-26 lead at the break as RMU outscored the host Hokies, 27-9, over the final 12 minutes.
RMU outrebounded the much larger Virginia Tech lineup, 20-13, while not allowing a second-chance point. The Colonials converted at 51.5 percent while the Hokies shot 38.5 percent.
The Colonials opened the second half on a 10-0 run as Spanou splashed a three-pointer and a long two in the half's opening minute. Tech did not get on the board until Fenyn hit a floater three minutes in.
Robert Morris cooled off after the opening foray, allowing Virginia Tech to cut the lead to 12 points on three occasions, but the Hokies never cut the second half margin to single digits.
The Colonials travel to Gainesville, Fla., to participate in the Gators Holiday Classic Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 20-21.Robert Morris opens the tournament by taking on Texas A&M Corpus Christi in a 5:00 p.m. contest Monday. RMU will play either host Florida or Alabama State Tuesday afternoon.