COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Three-time All-American Alyssa Thomas became Maryland’s all-leading scorer in men’s and women’s history Sunday in a 90-52 win over Army in the NCAA Tournament First Round at Comcast Center.
Thomas added 13 points to hit 2,271 in her career, passing Terrapin great Juan Dixon’s record of 2,269. Thomas added 14 rebounds, four assists, a block and a steal in fourth-seeded Maryland’s dominating win.
The Terrapins trailed 18-15 before blowing past the 13th-seeded Black Knights (25-8), champions of the Patriot League. Following head coach Brenda Frese's timeout, Maryland (25-6) changed its defense and came out with the confidence befitting a talented, deep squad playing on its home floor.
"It's like we woke up a beast," said Army’s Kelsey Minato, who scored 27.
"It actually started with Alyssa. She gave a great, calming presence during the timeout that we were fine," Frese said. "We changed our defense; I thought some the switches that we made defensively really helped us. Then we were able to get going with our transition."
After Thomas capped a 9-0 spurt with two foul shots, Army got one free throw apiece from Minato and Aimee Oertner, the last with 4:56 left in the half. Those would be the Black Knights' final points before halftime. Army went 10 minutes without a basket until Minato connected early in the second half to end the Black Knights' 0-for-10 stretch from the field.
Maryland led 44-20 at halftime and cruised from there. It was 60-30 with 14:29 left, the Terrapins upped the margin to 41 points with 5:36 remaining before Frese went deep to her bench.
"I thought that after we got the jitters out to start the game, we were able to show what separates us and makes us special," Frese said.
Minato scored 18 after halftime after a 3-for-8 first half. Making its first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2006, Army went 7 for 22 from the floor during the pivotal first half and was outrebounded 25-12.
The Black Knights shot 37 percent overall and were 9 for 27 from beyond the arc. Army had two shot-clock violations in the opening four minutes, and the Terrapins dominated the boards on the offensive end while taking a 12-7 lead.
With eight minutes elapsed, the Terrapins had 18 shots and no turnovers. The Black Knights, in contrast, had seven shots and six turnovers. But Maryland kept misfiring, and successive 3-pointers by Jean Parker and Minato preceded the Frese timeout with 9:11 left. After that, the Terrapins dominated.
The Terrapins returned to make their next three shots, including a 3 by Laurin Mincy that put Maryland ahead for good.
Minutes later, the Terrapins went on their 20-0 run. Brown scored eight straight points during the surge and Thomas contributed a basket and two free throws.
The Terrapins advanced to Tuesday's 7 p.m. Second Round game in College Park. They will face fifth-seeded Texas (22-11).
Tickets for the Second Round in College Park start at $15 for a reserved seats. For more information or to purchase, log on to http://www1.xosn.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=29700&ATCLID=209390169&DB_OEM_ID=29700.
Tuesday’s game will be shown live on the ESPN networks and can be seen on ESPN3.com or the WatchESPN app nationally.
The Terrapins are in the Louisville regional, in which Tennessee is the No. 1 seed. For the full bracket, log on to http://www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/basketball-women/d1.
In last year's NCAA Tournament run, the fourth-seeded Terrapins cruised past Quinnipiac, 72-52, in the First Round in College Park, then beat Michigan State, 74-49 to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Maryland fell to eventual national champion Connecticut in the Sweet Sixteen in Bridgeport, Conn.
This marks Maryland’s 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance and 10th in head coach Brenda Frese’s 12 years. She's led Maryland to four Elite Eights, five Sweet Sixteens, a Final Four and the 2006 NCAA Championship. Her all-time record with Maryland in the Tournament is 22-8 (.733). The Terps are 11-2 in NCAA Tournament games in Comcast Center.
The Terrapins are a top four seed for the 13th time in school history No. 4 seed for the third time. They are 4-2 all-time as the fourth-seed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.