Hokies' early 15 -2 run dooms Tigers

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- Kirby Copeland tied her career high with 15
points and Virginia Tech (No. 23 AP) snapped a two-game losing streak
with a 81-66 victory over Clemson on Thursday night.

The Hokies (12-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) had won nine
straight to crack the national rankings earlier this month. But
they found things much tougher in their first season in the ACC,
losing by 21 to top-ranked Duke and then by one in overtime to
North Carolina State.

Clemson, another of the ACC's traditional women's basketball
powers, figured to be another difficult challenge. However, the
Hokies made sure they put this one away early with a 15-2
first-half run.

Copeland began the charge with an inside basket. Carrie Mason,
who leads the ACC in 3-point shooting, made one behind the arc for
a 22-16 Virginia Tech lead. Backup Fran Recchia added a 3-pointer
and Dawn Chriss hit a driving layup to keep things going.

Recchia closed the spurt with her second 3-pointer and the
Hokies were up 30-16.

The Lady Tigers (7-9) have lost three straight and five of their
last seven. Their 1-3 start in the ACC is the worst under coach Jim
Davis since the 1990-91 season.

Clemson's Tasha Taylor had nine of her career-high 11 points in
the second half. The Lady Tigers had 25 turnovers and shot just
28.1 percent (25 of 71).

Copeland, a sophomore, matched her career high set against St.
Francis on Dec. 12 and against Davidson on Dec. 30. Chriss and
Britney Anderson had 12 points each for the Hokies. Mason finished
with 10 points.

Virginia Tech, which had lost both previous games at Clemson,
never gave the Lady Tigers a chance to get back in this one. When
Clemson's Julie Talley and D'Lesha Lloyd hit back-to-back baskets
to make it 32-20, Chriss responded with a breakaway layup.

When Moreemi Davis' three-point play sparked Clemson right
before the half, Mason dribbled downcourt and stroked a 3-pointer
at the buzzer to give Virginia Tech a 39-25 lead at the break.

The Hokies never let the lead shrink below 14 the rest of the