COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Itoro Coleman knew that if her Clemson team wanted to have a chance to upset No. 7 Maryland it needed to shut down Tianna Hawkins and Alyssa Thomas.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, both players came up with huge games.
Hawkins posted her 12th double-double of the season with 30 points and 12 rebounds and Maryland continued its dominance of Clemson with a 75-45 victory Thursday night. Hawkins played a season-high 40 minutes and was 11 of 18 from the field.
Thomas added 17 points for the Terrapins, who bounced back from a 71-56 loss to No. 5 Duke on Monday night. Clemson has lost 13 consecutive games against the Terrapins. The Tigers have not beaten Maryland since a 63-61 victory on March 7, 2003, in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
Nikki Dixon had 13 points for the Clemson (6-18 overall, 2-11 ACC), which has lost four consecutive games after beating Virginia Tech, 47-37, on Jan. 31.
“We knew if we let Hawkins and Thomas go off early, then we were in for a long night,” Coleman said. “That’s exactly what happened. Maryland pretty much owned the boards offensively. That was our focus coming into the game. I told our team before the game, when you get an opportunity to play a team that is nationally ranked, your margin of error is very slim. I think we got very frustrated early on.”
Maryland (20-5, 11-2) outrebounded Clemson, 48-32, and is averaging plus-15.7 in rebounding margin, second in the nation behind Liberty. The Terrapins scored 21 points off 21 Clemson turnovers.
Hawkins, who leads the ACC with 19 points per game, scored nine consecutive points, Chloe Pavlech made a 3-pointer and the Terps opened a 26-12 lead with 7:32 left in the first half. Clemson eventually settled down and scored seven consecutive points to end the half, cutting the margin to 33-25 at the break.
“It’s my teammates finding me in the right position,” Hawkins said of her dominant night. “It was just another opportunity with this game to get better. It was important for my teammates, like Alyssa, to get involved with the scoring.”
While Maryland shot only 31.6 percent (12 of 38) from the field, the Tigers missed all eight of their 3-point attempts.
The Terrapins began to pull away when Hawkins and Thomas combined to score all the points in a 15-4 run to start the second half.
Another jumper by Thomas with 7:46 remaining increased the lead to 61-38. Clemson didn’t pull within 20 points the rest of the way and the Terps cruised to their 10th victory in 11 games.
“We kind of came out slow,” Thomas said. “They can play so we had to wake up quickly. We’ve been really smart about how we are recovering.”
The victory kept Maryland tied with No. 14 North Carolina for second place in the ACC, two games behind Duke (23-1, 13-0).
“I thought Tianna was terrific,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “She scored in so many different ways for us. I thought that was a huge spark in terms of bouncing back and being ready to play tonight. I thought she did a terrific job.”
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)