COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Alyssa Thomas did her part, as expected, in helping No. 6 Maryland roll to its 13th consecutive victory.
The most interesting aspect of the Terrapins’ 77-62 win over Syracuse on Thursday night was the contribution of others, most notably 6-foot-3 freshman center Brionna Jones.
Thomas had 19 points and 11 rebounds for her 14th double-double of the season, and Maryland (15-1, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) received 44 points from its reserves, including a career-high 18 by Jones.
“When you talk about what Brionna has been doing from Day One, and all the extra workouts to prepare her for conference play, she was a huge difference-maker for us,” coach Brenda Frese said. “It makes us a different team, to be able to have the presence that we got from Bri tonight.”
After letting a 19-point lead shrink to 10 with 14:41 remaining, Maryland used a 13-3 run over the next three minutes to go up 61-41. Jones scored eight points in the surge and Thomas contributed two baskets and a free throw.
Jones’ previous career high in points was 11. She also had 10 rebounds.
“My team had my back. We were all working together,” she said.
In only 20 minutes of playing time, Jones went 6 for 10 from the floor and made six of seven free throws.
“She did a very good job of getting deep post position and making shots, and we were fouling her,” Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said.
Ten different players scored for the Terrapins, and nine played at least 10 minutes.
“Offensively, we did a really nice job sharing the basketball, making plays for each other,” Frese said.
It’s nothing she hasn’t seen before.
“It’s not a surprise when you talk about the depth that we have this season,” she said. “When you put our two teams together and they go against each other in practice, just the consistency they have with our play.”
Brianna Butler scored 14 and Alexis Peterson had 12 for Syracuse, which lost for the fourth time in five games. The Orange (12-5, 1-3) got only nine points from leading scorer Brittney Sykes, who came in averaging 17.6 per game.
Although Syracuse never led after the opening minutes, the game was hardly a blowout.
“You come in and play the No. 6 team in the country, that has one of the best players I’ve seen in women’s basketball in Thomas, I’m very proud of my kids,” Hillsman said.
Syracuse came in leading the ACC with a turnover margin of plus-6.4, but the Orange committed 21 turnovers in this one and forced only nine.
It was the first meeting between the teams since 1984. Maryland is 3-0 against Syracuse, playing its first season in the ACC.
The Terrapins forced 13 turnovers and got 24 points from their bench in grabbing a 42-28 halftime lead.
Playing for the first time in a week, Maryland missed 10 of its first 11 shots. But Syracuse failed to take advantage, and the Terrapins went ahead for good when four different players scored in a 10-0 run that made it 18-12.
Following its 1-for-11 start from the floor, Maryland made 13 of its next 17 attempts. Brene Moseley capped the torrid shooting spree with a jumper that put the Terrapins up 31-17.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)