RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Alyssa Thomas looked as if she was on her way to a big scoring performance for No. 8 Maryland, only to see No. 18 North Carolina State throw a different defensive scheme at her.
The two-time Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year managed just a single bucket in the final 12 minutes, with much of that coming while she was guarded by undersized defender Len’Nique Brown in a diamond-and-1 defense. That proved critical as the Terps went cold in the second half in a 72-63 loss Thursday night.
Thomas, a 6-foot-2 forward, finished with 18 points but attempted just one shot in the final 12 minutes as the Wolfpack took over late.
“I couldn’t tell you,” Thomas said on why the defense was so successful. “I think it was just a combination of we weren’t hitting shots and we weren’t attacking the basket.”
Thomas’ layup gave Maryland a 53-44 with 12:21 left, but N.C. State answered with 11 straight points to erase the deficit. She didn’t score again until getting a putback off an offensive rebound against the 5-5 Brown to cut the Wolfpack’s lead to 68-61 with 31 seconds left.
Maryland led by 10 in the first half and 38-33 at halftime, but shot 36 percent — including 0 for 14 from 3-point range — in the second half.
For N.C. State, Myisha Goodwin-Coleman scored all 16 of her points after halftime, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 3:51 left.
Markeisha Gatling added 15 points for the Wolfpack (19-3, 6-2 ACC), who beat the Terrapins for the first time in four years. It also marked N.C. State’s first home win against a top-10 opponent since beating then-No. 2 North Carolina in February 2007.
First-year coach Wes Moore has now led the Wolfpack to wins against four ranked opponents, though this one didn’t come until Goodwin-Coleman’s 3-pointer started an 11-2 run that broke a 57-all tie.
Freshman Lexie Brown scored a season-high 20 points for the Terps (16-4, 4-3).
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