No. 9 Maryland women beat Virginia Tech 87-48
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Alyssa Thomas almost got through her postgame speech without tears.
By then, the Terrapin forward had inflicted more than enough damage to the Hokies.
In her final regular season home game, Thomas scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead No. 9 Maryland past Virginia Tech 87-48 on Sunday.
It was Thomas’ nation-leading 23rd double-double of the season, coming before a crowd of 7,164 that came largely to see the senior’s No. 25 raised into the rafters after the game.
”I think I tried to hold it in all day I guess,” said Thomas, who grew tearful while addressing the crowd after a video montage of the forward’s highlights and a speech from coach Brenda Frese. ”Everything just came out right there. Just a huge honor to see my name out there, especially with the greats that started all this.”
Thomas is second in school history in points (2,234) and rebounds (1,167). She needs 13 points and 63 boards to catch Washington Mystics forward Crystal Langhorne in both categories.
”I really don’t even know how many points I need to break records,” said Thomas.
Tierney Pfirman scored 11 points for Maryland (24-5, 12-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), which secured the third seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament. Brene Moseley added 13 points for Maryland, which will begin conference tourney play Friday in Greensboro, N.C.
Maryland will likely host early-round games of the NCAA tournament later this month.
”I’m excited, because we’re built for three games in three days,” Frese said. ”We have that depth.”
Virginia Tech leading scorer Uju Ugkoka, who entered averaging nearly 19 points per game, was held to only three for the Hokies (4-12, 14-15).
Tech shot just 17.6 percent (6 of 34) from the floor in the first half as its win streak ended at three, and will face Clemson in an ACC opening round game Wednesday.
”We got off to such a bad start and had some open shots, and then when we weren’t able to knock any of them it really spiraled out of control against us,” said Tech coach Dennis Wolff. ”I thought it was as bad as it looked. But within this league, there is a top and then there is everyone else, and that’s how I see it.”
Six players scored in an early 15-0 run to help the Terps open a 20-4 lead. Moseley hit a 3-pointer in that stretch, and Pfirman capped it by converting a three-point play after rebounding her own miss inside.
Tech’s Maddison Penn hit a 3 to stop the run after the Hokies missed their first six from beyond the arc. But Maryland’s lead still grew to 38-15 by halftime behind eight points each from Thomas and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough.
Maryland stretched its lead to 30 after halftime when Thomas’ putback made it 53-23. The Terps’ lead grew as large as 79-40 after Alicia DeVaughn’s free throws with 5:09 to play, and again to 39 when Moseley hit the game’s final basket.
Thomas and her senior teammates departed to a standing ovation with just under two minutes to play. With six assists, the forward fell four assists short of her seventh career triple-double, which would’ve tied an NCAA record.
Thomas’ No. 25 is the ninth in program history to be hung in the rafters at Comcast Center.
”It was humbling for me to be able to watch her,” Moseley said. ”I think it’s just good to see good things happen to good people, and I think this is well deserved. Like you see, we’ve seen all the background behind what she does and all the hard work she puts into it over the past years.”