By JOEDY McCREARY
AP Sports Writer
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Tianna Hawkins and Alyssa Thomas each scored 23 points and No. 7 Maryland held on to beat pesky Wake Forest 73-63 on Friday night.
Malina Howard added 12 to help the Terrapins (19-3, 10-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) sweat out their ninth straight win.
They shot 54 percent, built a 20-point lead and then blew nearly all of it during a dizzying series of mistakes before regrouping just in time to preserve a huge matchup Monday night at No. 5 Duke.
Chelsea Douglas scored 17 points for the Demon Deacons (10-13, 3-8), who were denied their biggest victory in 20 years and lost their fifth straight.
They clawed back in the game with a 31-14 run during a 12-minute stretch that coincided with a stretch in which Maryland had 12 turnovers on 17 possessions.
Douglas capped that run with a free throw with 3:01 left to pull them to 62-59. Dearica Hamby hit a layup to bring Wake Forest within three at 64-61 with 2 1/2 minutes left, but the Demon Deacons managed just one more field goal the rest of the way.
Thomas scored seven points in the final 2:09, hitting five of six free throws and adding a layup to help the Terps pull away and set up their huge visit to Duke with a share of first place in the league on the line for Maryland.
Asia Williams had 13 points and Lakevia Boykin finished with 12 on 5-of-17 shooting for Wake Forest, which hasn’t beaten a team this highly ranked since knocking off a seventh-ranked Maryland team in 1993.
The Demon Deacons held their own on the boards with the nation’s second-best rebounding team. Maryland, which entered with an average rebounding margin of plus-17.5, finished this one with a 27-26 advantage on the glass.
But neither team had much success taking care of the ball: Maryland had 20 turnovers while Wake Forest had 23, and the Terps turned those miscues into 29 points.
Thomas had her younger brother Devin — the starting center as a freshman on the Wake Forest men’s team — watching this one from the stands.
She scored 11 of the Terps’ first 15 points and needed barely over eight minutes to reach double figures for the 16th straight game.
But Maryland struggled to get much separation until the final moments of the first half, when the Terps started a 26-6 run that carried over through the break. Chloe Pavlech’s free throw with 16:50 to play pushed the lead to 48-28.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)