ATLANTA (AP) — With Maryland struggling, Alyssa Thomas stepped up her game.
Thomas scored 28 points and No. 10 Maryland dominated the boards in a 66-57 Atlantic Coast Conference victory over Georgia Tech on Sunday.
She also had 10 rebounds, one of three players in double figures for the Terrapins (15-3, 6-1), who piled up a 52-29 rebounding advantage over the Yellow Jackets.
“Our rebounding was sensational,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “Alyssa was magnificent. She made plays on both ends of the floor. Not just offensively but also rebounding.”
Tianna Hawkins had 14 rebounds to go with 16 points, and Alicia DeVaughn grabbed 12 rebounds and scored 11 points for the Terrapins, who came in leading the nation in rebounding margin at plus-17 per game.
Maryland has outrebounded its opponent in every game this season and outscored Georgia Tech 42-28 in the paint.
Four consecutive baskets by Thomas started a 15-0 run early in the second half that gave Maryland a 47-31 lead with 14:28 to play.
The Yellow Jackets (8-10, 1-6) whittled the lead to five points, 58-53, with 2:51 left, but they got no closer.
The Terrapins were missing freshman Tierney Pfirman, who dislocated her knee on Saturday in practice. The Terrapins will await MRI results this week. Pfirman has started in 12 games this year and is averaging 8.6 points.
“I’m really proud of this team. To come into an environment like this and play the way we played continues to show how much character this team has. We continue to play for each other,” Frese said.
Maryland has already lost three players to ACL injuries this season (Laurin Mincy, Brene Moseley and Essence Townsend). Tyaunna Marshall led Georgia Tech with 18 points. That increased her career total to 1,255, 15th on the team’s all-time list, one ahead of Sonja Mallory.
Maryland now holds a 47-18 edge against Georgia Tech. The last time the teams met, the Terrapins prevailed 68-65 in last season’s ACC tournament final. Thomas scored 29 points in that one, and Marshall scored 25.
Georgia Tech led 29-23 with 4:25 remaining until halftime, but the Terrapins scored the final nine points in the half. A layup by Hawkins gave them a 30-29 lead with 1:41 to go and she added another at the 40-second mark.
“I thought we got off to one of the better starts we’ve had in the last five games,” Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said. “I really felt like we came out and played tough. Our freshmen put up a fight in the first five minutes. I think our pressure and press did bother them.”
“To hold Maryland to 66 points is a huge accomplishment for our team, it means our defense is getting better. I liked what I saw out of the way we competed and battled.”
Hawkins moved into Maryland’s top five in career rebounds with 942, passing Kris Kirchner (1978-80), who collected 936.
The Terrapins are a half-game behind ACC co-leaders Duke and North Carolina and will play host to the No. 11 Tar Heels on Thursday night.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)