CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Her coach had already expressed her disappointment with No. 6 Maryland’s shoddy defensive work in an 86-72 loss to Virginia on Thursday night when All-American point forward Alyssa Thomas got her turn.
“We really couldn’t slow them down,” she said. “They got whatever they wanted when they wanted.”
Coach Brenda Frese said her team wasn’t ready, and the Cavaliers clearly were hungry.
“They were fantastic in all elements of the game,” Frese said. “They were relentless. They came at us extremely hard, especially to open up the second half. They were really, really aggressive.”
They also were balanced.
Kelsey Wolfe scored 24 points, Ataira Franklin and Faith Randolph each scored 19 and Virginia went ahead with an 11-0 burst to start the second half and never trailed again in ending Maryland’s 14-game winning streak. Virginia also ended a five-game skid against the Terps.
Thomas, who led Maryland with 27 points, including the 2,000th of her career with a first-half jumper, said the start of the second half was critical.
“We let them come out with a lot of energy where we came out kind of flat,” she said. “Then when we wanted to turn it on, they had so much momentum that we couldn’t slow them down.”
The Cavaliers (10-9, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their second straight against a ranked foe. They beat No. 24 Florida State on Sunday.
Thomas also grabbed 10 rebounds and Alicia DeVaughn scored 14 for Maryland (16-2, 4-1).
Virginia trailed 38-34 at halftime, but scored the first 11 points of the second head to open a 45-38 lead. Five quick points by DeVaughn pulled the Terps to within 47-45, but Wolfe made a 3-pointer and Lexi Gerson followed a Maryland turnover with a foul-line jumper, pushing the lead back to 52-45.
The Terps had closed to 55-50 when Imovbioh scored off an inbounds pass triggered with just 3 seconds on the shot clock, and after another Terps turnover, Randolph’s jumper gave the Cavaliers their biggest lead to that point at 59-50. Thomas scored five in an 8-2 burst that got Maryland within 61-58, but Franklin drove for a basket and then pulled down a rebound and scored on a stickback to rebuild the lead.
Maryland got no closer than six the rest of the way.
Both teams shot 50 percent from the field, but Virginia had eight 3s, the Terps just four.
Gerson and Imovbioh each added 12 points for the Cavaliers.
After the game, Virginia coach Joanne Boyle got on the public address microphone and thanked the crowd. It was Virginia’s first victory against a top-10 team since they beat No. 3 Tennessee in 2011.
The first half was close throughout with Maryland leading by no more than five and Virginia’s largest lead at four. The Terps thought they were taking a seven-point edge into halftime, but Katie Rutan’s 3-pointer from the left corner proved to have left her hand just after the clock struck 0:00, leaving it at 38-34.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)