BOSTON (AP) — Maryland coach Brenda Frese broke into a wide smile when she was asked about Alyssa Thomas climbing the school’s all-time scoring charts. It’s a smile that will likely turn even wider as Thomas moves closer to becoming No. 1 on the list.
Thomas scored 26 points to move into second place on Maryland’s all-time women’s scoring list, carrying the ninth-ranked Terrapins to a 92-66 victory over Boston College on Thursday night.
“It’s so much fun to watch,” Frese said. “Every night, the way she competes. She had (seven) points at halftime and to be able dominate the way she did. She commands a presence on the floor.”
The 6-foot-2 senior forward passed Marissa Coleman for second and needs 34 points to move ahead of Crystal Langhorne’s record of 2,247. She also needs 56 to break Juan Dixon’s overall school record of 2,269.
Boston College coach Erik Johnson was impressed how quickly Thomas turns a defensive rebound into an easy basket for the Terrapins.
“In transition she’s an absolute nightmare,” he said. “You can figure out how to defend her in the half-court, although she’s very, very difficult. In transition there’s really almost no way to defend her because if you commit multiple defenders, she’s one of the best passers in the country and she finds the open players. If you don’t commit multiple defenders, she’s a truck and she’s going 1-on-1 and she’s big and strong and she’s good in the open court. It’s really like a Catch-22 for us.”
Lexie Brown added 12 points, all coming on 3-pointers, and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough had 11 for Maryland (23-5, 11-4 Atlantic Coast Conference). Thomas added nine boards.
But Thomas, standing a few feet behind Frese when the coach praised her, seemed a bit modest and wouldn’t admit she felt like she could take over a game.
“I wouldn’t say take over,” she said. “I’d say get us going in transition and get us going in an easy place.”
Kristen Doherty led Boston College (12-17, 3-12) with 15 points in her final home game. Kat Cooper added 13 points and Kelly Hughes 12 for the Eagles, who have lost 10 of 11.
It was Maryland’s final ACC visit to Boston, a place where Frese captured the 2006 NCAA title, about 3 miles away at TD Garden.
“This place will always have special meaning for obvious reasons,” she said. “We love coming here. We love the matchups and to be able to finish with a convincing win. It was probably one of the better games we’ve played, especially against a difficult offense to defend.”
It was the Terrapins’ third straight win since a 21-point loss at No. 7 Duke.
Maryland made a late charge en route to a 50-38 halftime lead. The advantage never fell below double digits in the second half.
The Eagles hung close until Maryland turned up the defensive pressure late in the half, picking up BC full-court and disrupting its half-court offense.
After Nicole Boudreau’s 3 from the left corner gave BC a 29-28 edge with just over 6 minutes to play before halftime, the Terrapins scored the next 13 points over a 2:39 span. Thomas started the spree with a pair of free throws and closed it with a 3-point play.
The lead changed hands 10 times until Maryland’s surge.
In the opening minutes, the Eagles kept it tight mainly by nailing 3s to offset the Terrapins’ inside scoring. Once BC seemed to clamp down defensively on Maryland’s inside players, Brown started nailing some long-range 3s, with four coming in the final 8 minutes of the half.
Both teams shot at least 50 percent from beyond the arc in the opening half. Maryland — behind Brown’s 4 of 6 — was 7 for 12. BC went 6 for 12.
In the second half, Maryland outscored BC 16-8 to build its lead to 66-46 on Walker-Kimbrough’s driving basket with 12 1/2 minutes to play.
Thomas scored seven consecutive points during a 9-0 run as the Terrapins opened their lead to 77-51 with just under 10 minutes left.
The Terrapins host Virginia Tech in their regular season finale Sunday, while BC plays at Georgia Tech.
The Eagles honored their two seniors — Doherty and injured forward Katie Zenevitch — in their last home game before tip-off. Zenevitch started and when Maryland won the opening tip Frese immediately called timeout so the forward could leave the game to a nice ovation, limping to the bench with a knee injury.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)