No. 8 Maryland 73, Virginia 56

Coming off a home loss to sixth-ranked Miami, No. 8 Maryland

probably had the perfect opponent for its next game.

”A couple of us are rivalry players to a couple of the players

on the Virginia team, so we had a little more energy,” Tianna

Hawkins said after she scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed

14 rebounds Thursday night to lead the Terrapins to a 73-56 victory

against the Cavaliers.

Hawkins, who leads the nation in field goal percentage at .633,

missed just once in 13 shot attempts for the Terrapins (22-4, 9-4

Atlantic Coast Conference), who won two years ago in

Charlottesville by a point and doubled that margin last year – but

needed overtime to do it.

The victory was the 300th for coach Brenda Frese, and her team

made it look easy.

”The last two years, we’ve come in here and we’ve sprinted out

of here,” she said.

This time, they sprinted to a big early lead and led by double

digits for the final 31 minutes.

”It was pretty close to as flawless a first half as it could

get,” Frese said. ”I thought we really set the tone tonight with

our defense and our rebounding. Those are the things you have to

have, especially as you’re going down the stretch here in February

and into the postseason.”

The Cavaliers came into the game ranked 18th nationally in

scoring defense, allowing just 52.9 points per game, but nearly

gave up that many by halftime.

The Terrapins built a 22-8 cushion and scored 30 of their first

32 points in the paint. They outrebounded the Cavs 29-10 in the

first 20 minutes and had 15 second-chance points to lead 44-21.

Hawkins had 15 points and 10 rebounds by the break. Alyssa

Thomas finished with 16 points for Maryland, and the Terrapins

scored 48 points in the paint. Virginia, by contrast, had just

20.

”They came out and played like they were playing for something

going down the stretch, and we came out and we got punched and we

didn’t respond until the second half,” first-year Virginia coach

Joanne Boyle said.

Virginia (18-9, 6-7) got no closer than 11 in the second

half.

Ariana Moorer led Virginia with 23 points and Ataira Franklin

had 10.

The Terrapins stretched their margin to 24 several times in the

second half before Virginia rallied. A jumper by Franklin, two free

throws by Moorer and a steal and layup by Moorer made it 57-46,

inciting the crowd and prompting Frese to call timeout.

Hawkins steadied things with a jumper, and after Virginia

missed, Alicia DeVaughn’s putback rebuilt the lead to 61-46.

The Cavaliers lost 68-61 at College Park on Jan. 16, but quickly

found themselves hoping just to get that close in the rematch.

After Chelsea Shine’s 10-foot jumper opened the scoring,

Maryland scored 22 of the next 28 points to take command.

Maryland finished with a 53-26 rebounding edge and got 22

offensive rebounds that it turned into 23 points.

Follow Hank Kurz Jr. on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/hankkurzjr