CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – After jumping out to an early lead, No. 8 Maryland women’s basketball won at No. 10 North Carolina, 79-70, Sunday in both teams’ Atlantic Coast Conference openers. The Terps picked up their 11th straight win and snapped Carolina’s seven-game stride.
Two-time ACC Player of the Year Alyssa Thomas, the national leader in doubles-doubles, picked up her 13th straight with 21 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Terrapins (13-1, 1-0). She moved into No. 4 on Maryland’s all-time scoring list with her 1,941 career points, passing Vicky Bullett.
Freshman Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 16 points and seven rebounds, while fellow freshman Lexie Brown added 12 points, including 5-of-6 free throws in the final minute and six assists. Redshirt senior Katie Rutan scored 14 points, 11 in the Terps’ key second half run.
Stephanie Mavunga scored 15 points to lead the Tar Heels (12-3, 0-1 ACC), who had their seven-game winning streak snapped.
"For our seniors, it's our last year in general but this being (Maryland's) last year in the ACC, we want to go out with a bang," Thomas said.
Maryland led for all but about 90 seconds of this one and weathered a UNC second half push before holding on to win its second in three games at Carmichael Arena.
North Carolina cut its deficit to six with seven minutes left on Mavunga's layup that made it 61-55. Thomas followed with second-chance buckets on consecutive trips downcourt and the Tar Heels -- who went without a field goal for 3 crucial minutes down the stretch -- didn't get closer than seven in the final five minutes.
"We didn't lose our composure," Frese said. "We knew they'd make runs. ... It was great that we had a buffer in terms of the lead, and I thought A.T. imposed her will. She was not going to let us be denied, and she showed it by getting on the glass, making big plays."
That came after Rutan helped Maryland build its huge lead midway through the half. She hit threes roughly 20 seconds apart to push the lead to 50-37 with about 16 1/2 minutes left.
She added another one about a minute later, Thomas followed with a jumper and Rutan hit a layup in transition that made it 57-39 with 13 1/2 minutes remaining.
North Carolina then started its comeback attempt by reeling off nine straight points, with Brittany Rountree's layup with 11 1/2 minutes left making it 57-48.
The Terrapins are ranked No. 8 in the latest Associated Press and USA Today National Coaches polls. With the win, the Terps picked up their 48th over a ranked team under Frese and 17th over a top 10 team.
Next, Maryland will host Wake Forest (9-5) Thursday at 7 p.m. in College Park. The Terps-Demon Deacons game will be shown live online for a fee on TerpsTV Premium. Live stats will be available and live updates will be at https://twitter.com/umdwbb. As part of social media night, all Twitter, Facebook and Instagram followers can get $2 off tickets. Contact the Terrapin Ticket Office at 1-800-IM-A-TERP or at umterps.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.