COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Maryland coach Brenda Frese knew her sixth-ranked basketball team was in for a painful experience against Georgia Tech.
In an eye-gouging, elbow-sticking, whistle-blowing affair that featured 53 fouls and 39 turnovers, the Terrapins pulled away to 92-81 victory Sunday.
“Like I told the team, I compare these games with Tech like going to the dentist and getting drilled,” Frese said. “Every time we play them, it’s close, it’s tight, it’s physical.”
This was no exception. Maryland senior Alyssa Thomas had 22 points and 14 rebounds, her NCAA-leading 15th double-double, despite spending time on the bench after getting struck in the eye.
“You expect it to be a very physical game, bodies flying,” Thomas said. “That’s just the type of game we have when we match up against Georgia Tech.”
The Terrapins trailed at halftime and led by only four points with 8:50 left. But with Thomas leading the way, Maryland (16-1, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) earned its 14th consecutive win and beat the Yellow Jackets (12-5, 2-3) for the fifth straight time.
Thomas went 7 for 14 from the floor and made eight of nine free throws, including a pair that launched a 6-0 run that made it 75-65 with 5:33 to go.
Lexie Brown scored 15 for the Terrapins and Alicia DeVaughn added 13, going 11 for 12 at the line. Maryland committed a season-high 23 turnovers, but made 35 foul shots compared to 15 for Georgia Tech.
Freshman Kaela Davis led the Yellow Jackets with 27 points and Tyaunna Marshall had 22 points and 14 rebounds. Georgia Tech took 80 shots and made only 30 in falling to 1-4 on the road.
“I’m not worried about my 27,” Davis said. “I’m proud of the way my team came out and played. We were ready to play, but we’ll see them again.”
The Yellow Jackets held a 47-43 lead early in the second half before Brown drilled a pair of 3-pointers during a 13-1 run that put the Terrapins up 56-48.
It was 58-51 when the Yellow Jackets bench called for a technical foul. DeVaughn made both free throws for a 60-51 lead with 14:27 remaining.
Marshall then scored six points in a 10-4 burst that made it 65-61, and her follow-shot got the Jackets to 69-65.
Thomas answered with two free throws and a jumper before Tierney Pfirman scored to give Maryland a double-digit lead.
“This is the sixth Top 25 team we’ve played this season, and we’ve had an opportunity in every one of those games,” Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said. “With a young team, I’m really proud of the way we competed against one of the best rebounding teams in the country.”
The Yellow Jackets finished with a 43-38 rebounding edge, the 15th straight game in which they outrebounded their opponent.
Davis scored 16 points and Marshall had 10 in a first half that featured six ties and 11 lead changes and ended with the Yellow Jackets clinging to a 44-43 lead.
Soon after Georgia Tech used an 8-0 run to move in front 10-8, Thomas made a three-point play for a 21-17 advantage.
A layup by DeVaughn made it 25-22, and the Yellow Jackets’ leading rebounder, Roddreka Rogers, picked up her third foul on the play. DeVaughn made the free throw and Brown followed with a 3-pointer to put the Terrapins up by seven.
Marshall then made two straight baskets to launch a 12-2 spree that put Georgia Tech ahead 34-31.
It was only the second time this season the Terrapins trailed at halftime. The other time was against top-ranked Connecticut.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)