George Washington's young team threw a scare into powerful Virginia before succumbing, 76-57, in a women's basketball game last night at Smith Center.

The Colonials (1-2) took advantage of Virginia's 12 for 36 shooting to hold a 32-28 halftime lead, George Washington having made 56 percent of its shots. Kelly Ballentine, a freshman from Annandale High, scored 15 of her 25 points that half.

"We executed our game plan perfectly in the first half," Coach Denise Fiore said. "We took high percentage shots, used the clock."

Said Debbie Ryan, coach of Virginia (3-0), "When our first couple of shots didn't drop, we got scared and nervous. It's our first road game. We got disorganized and we got out of our offense."

George Washington still led, 49-48, with 8:45 to play, when the Cavaliers' Sally Lewis took charge. The 6-foot-2 Wellsboro, Pa., sophomore made an eight-foot jumper and, after teammate Cathy Grimes scored two of her 20 points, got inside for baskets. The Cavaliers were ahead, 56-49, with 4:05 to go, and spent most of the rest of the game parading to the foul line.

"After we tied it up, there was no question we were going to win," Ryan said. "Our offense is set up to feed Cathy inside and our shooters on the perimeter. Sally's always had that touch. That was the best second half (19 points) she's ever played. Right before we went on that 8-0 tear, we went to a 3-2 zone and a zone press to shut down Kelly (Ballentine). It worked well."