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V.I. AVENGES LOSS IN BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

CHRIST CHURCH, Barbados – The Virgin Islands Women's Basketball team, rebounding from a close loss in the tournament opener, received 17 second half-points from Natasha Lettsome and defeated Guyana 70-56 Monday in the Caricom Basketball Championships.
Lettsome, an Appalachian State forward, scored 10 of her team's 12 points to start the second half as the Virgin Islands avenged Sunday's 66-63 defeat to Trinidad & Tobago. The Virgin Islands, competing in international basketball for the first time in 26 years, led 34-27 at the intermission and started the second half on a 12-3 run, sparked by Lettsome, the former Charlotte Amalie High School phenom. Lettsome, the 1998 Daily News Athlete of the Year, had eight straight points during the 12-point rally. She finished with a game-high 24 points.
Tajama Abraham, who played with the Seattle Storm of WNBA, added 11 points for the Virgin Islands.
"She wants the ball," V.I. coach Albert Hazard said of Lettsome. "She is getting better and better every game. I hope she can keep it up."
The Virgin Islands improved to 1-1 in the six-team tournament. Guyana, which received 19 points from Cindy Johnson, dropped to 0-2. The Virgin Islands will play Jamaica at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Jamaica is coming off a 77-71 victory over defending champion Bahamas.
The Virgin Islands, which fell behind 15-2 against Trinidad & Tobago on Sunday, came out with more intensity on Monday. Sparked by the hustle of guard D'Mour King, the Virgin Islands took a 12-3 lead. When King left the contest with an ankle sprain, Guyana staged a comeback and took a 20-19 lead. In the second half, the Virgin Islands held leads up to 18-points.
"I think we played better overall," Hazard said. "They are getting used to the rough international play. They are getting to know each other as players and I'm getting to know them as coach."
Earlier on Monday, the Virgin Islands Men's team beat St. Kitts/Nevis, 77-70, behind Tryone Allick's 16 points.

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