COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Eighth-ranked Maryland battled back from a 22-point deficit Monday to take No. 2 Notre Dame to the wire, but fell in the final seconds, 87-83. Senior All-American Alyssa Thomas led the Terrapins with her NCAA-leading 17th double-double of the season with a season-high 29 points and 12 rebounds in Maryland’s furious comeback.
The Irish (19-0, 6-0 ACC) appeared on their way to another victory after building a 41-19 lead late in the first half. But Maryland (16-3, 4-2) stormed back behind Thomas to go up 64-63 with 10 minutes left.
"Like I told them in the locker room, I loved our fight," coach Brenda Frese said. "I thought we showed a lot of character, especially when we were down, to be able to come back and scratch and claw and give ourselves a chance in the second half."
"If it's possible to be disappointed after a (win), I'd say that's how I'm feeling right now," Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. "We made some big shots when we had to. We certainly weren't going to get any stops. That was the only way we were going to win, to outscore them."
Jewell Loyd scored a career-high 31 points and Kayla McBride had 20 for the Irish, who previously hadn't yielded more than 76 points in a game.
Maryland cut the deficit to 12 at the break and opened the second half with a 14-7 run to make it 54-49. Thomas capped the surge with 10 straight points, including a pair of three-point plays. It was 58-51 before Thomas made another three-point play, giving her 12 points in a span of 3:06.
Thomas gave the Terrapins their only lead, sinking a stop-and-pop jumper in the lane to make it 64-63.
McBride answered with a driving layup, Michaela Mabrey made two foul shots and McBride hit a 3-pointer to put Notre Dame ahead 70-64.
McBride hit a 3-pointer for a 78-74 lead, a three-point play by Loyd made it 81-76 with 2:24 to go, and Loyd followed her own miss with a layup for an 85-81 advantage with 1:03 remaining.
McBride hit a long jumper as the shot clock was about to expire to make it 87-83 with 12.2 seconds to go, the last in a series of clutch shots by the Irish in their closest game of the season.
The Irish shot 67 percent from the field (18 for 27) in taking a 47-35 halftime lead.
Two of the Terrapins' three losses this season have come against the top two teams in the country: Connecticut and Notre Dame.
Thomas broke two school records in Monday’s game. With her 1,623 field goals attempted, she passed Marissa Coleman’s record of 1,603. She went 9-for-11 at the foul line to break Shay Doron’s record of 492 career free throws made.
The Terrapins are ranked No. 8 in the latest Associated Press and in the USA Today Coaches polls.
Next, the Terrapins will head to Raleigh to take on No. 18 North Carolina State Thursday at 7 p.m. in a matchup shown on ESPN3 and the Watch ESPN app. The Terps-Wolfpack game will be on the Maryland Sports Radio Network and can be heard on 1300 AM (Baltimore) and 570 AM (DC). Live stats will be available through umterps.com and live updates will be at twitter.com/umdwbb.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.