DULUTH, Ga. (AP) — Maryland coach Brenda Frese was delighted that Tianna Hawkins kept an accurate shooting touch while her fellow starters were struggling from the field.
“She shot the ball with confidence, and I thought she played like a vet,” Frese said. “She played the game slow, played the
game with a lot of confidence and sometimes you have to find ways when we’re not shooting the ball well from the floor.”
Hawkins scored a career high 23 points, Alyssa Thomas added 23 points and No. 8 Maryland beat No. 22 Georgia Tech 64-56 on Monday night.
Despite a difficult shooting night from the field, Thomas went 12 of 12 on free throws to help Maryland (20-3, 7-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) win its second straight.
Sasha Goodlett, who finished with 15 points, was the only player to score in double figures for Georgia Tech (17-7, 7-4).
The loss snapped the Yellow Jackets’ four-game winning streak.
Hawkins went 11 of 13 from the field and grabbed nine boards.
“I was taking my time when my teammates found me in different scenarios,” Hawkins said. “I think was just confidence.”
The Terrapins outrebounded Georgia Tech 43-28, one better than their season average, which ranks fourth in the nation. Their 17 offensive rebounds took a toll on the Yellow Jackets’ energy.
“I felt like we would play 25 great, hard seconds of defense and then give up an offensive rebound,” Goodlett said. “That’s
something we’re going to have to learn from and something that’s unacceptable.”
The teams had split the last four games, which had been decided by a margin of 3.3 points, in the series. The lead changed hands eight times, and the score was tied 12 times.
“We knew that was going to be a big key because when we played them the first time, they did a tremendous job of hitting the glass on us,” Frese said. “Obviously, we rely on Alyssa and Tianna and our bigs to rebound, so get our guards to step up and rebound tonight was huge.”
Thomas went 5 of 15 from the field. Starting guards Laurin Mincy and Anjale Barrett combined to go 2 of 14, and center Alicia DeVaughn went scoreless in 19 minutes, but the Terrapins finally started hitting some shots.
Lynetta Kizer was just 1 of 9 from the field when her 16-footer gave Maryland a 52-44 lead with 6:05 remaining.
“We were able to settle down in the second half and really start making plays on the offensive end,” Frese said. “Getting on the glass was a big deal for us as well. Rebounding was huge. It always is against Georgia Tech. I thought we did a tremendous job of getting everybody going to the glass tonight.”
The Yellow Jackets followed by scoring 10 unanswered points and going up by two on Ty Marshall’s layup.
Goodlett and Marshall each had five rebounds for Georgia Tech, which dropped to 0-6 this season against ranked opponents.
“If we want to get to the Sweet 16 and beyond, we’ve got to beat a team like that,” Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said. “That’s where we are in our program. We’re at that turning point, and I hope these seniors will be the ones to lead us through that barrier and knock it down and help us take that next step and make history with this program.”
Hawkins’ jumper with 2:09 remaining gave Maryland a 56-54 lead, and the Terrapins never trailed again.
The Yellow Jackets, who failed to hold a 20-point lead early in the second half at Maryland last month and lost by three points, let the Terrapins end the first half on a 10-0 run, capped by Thomas’ two free throws, for a 24-24 tie at intermission.
“We knew they were going to give us their best game because we stole one at our place,” Thomas said. “Coming into it, we knew we had to come with a lot of energy at the start.”
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)