COLLEGE PARK, Md. – National Player of the Year candidate Alyssa Thomas had 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and No. 9 Maryland cranked up the defense in a 94-46 rout of Pittsburgh on Thursday night in the Terps’ 200th game at Comcast Center.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 13 and freshman Brionna Jones added 12 for the Terrapins, who limited Pittsburgh to 31 percent shooting and allowed only 21 first-half points. Maryland (18-4, 6-3 ACC) picked up its largest win over a conference foe since a 110-46 win over Clemson in 2008.
“I really liked how hard we played from start to finish, we never played the score and I thought we got better tonight,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “I thought you saw some really good defensive stops that led to our transition and I thought we were really unselfish in our play. I thought we were able, with our depth to wear them out, but absolutely our defense led to our transition and I thought we definitely tried to make a difference defensively tonight.”
The Terrapins scored the first 16 points of the second half to take a 61-21 lead and at one point outscored the Tigers 39-5. After Loliya Briggs hit a 3-pointer for Pittsburgh (10-13, 2-7), Maryland added another 12 points to make it 73-24.
Before sitting out the final 12 minutes, Thomas moved into sole possession of third place on the school's career list with 2,097 points, passing Kristi Toliver (2,078). Only Marissa Coleman (2,205) and Crystal Langhorne (2,247) have scored more in a Maryland uniform. Thomas also moved into No. 3 on the school’s all-time rebounding list with her 1,093 career boards, passing Tianna Hawkins (1,086). Only Langhorne (1,229) and Coleman (1,139) picked up more.
Briggs led Pittsburgh with 10 points. Guard Brianna Kiesel, who came in averaging 17.5 points a game, was limited to five on 2-for-8 shooting. It was the first time in 29 games she failed to score in double figures.
The Panthers led only once, 5-4 on a driving layup by Kiesel. Pittsburgh went scoreless for the next seven minutes while Maryland rang up 17 straight points. Lexie Brown contributed a jumper and a 3-pointer to the run as the Terrapins made nine of their first 12 field-goal attempts.
Chelsea Welch ended the Panthers' drought with a 3-pointer, and Pittsburgh closed to 23-13 before Thomas scored six points in a 13-2 spree that made it 36-15.
By halftime, Thomas had 14 points and Maryland owned a comfortable 45-21 lead after holding the Panthers to eight baskets.
Maryland celebrated its 200th women’s basketball game at Comcast Center Thursday. The Terrapins are 168-32 all-time at Comcast Center, winning 84 percent of their games there, all under Frese.
The Terrapins are ranked No. 10 in the latest Associated Press and No. 9 in the USA Today Coaches poll.
Next, the Terrapins will host Clemson Sunday at 2 p.m. in the annual Pink Game to support breast cancer awareness. Fans wearing pink can get $1 off a ticket at the box office.
All breast cancer survivors can receive FREE ADMISSION to the game by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by Saturday, February 8th. Please include your full name, number of years you have been a survivor and if you would like to participate in the halftime recognition. Once you register you will receive a confirmation email with more details. Maryland women's basketball will honor breast cancer survivors during halftime of Sunday’s game.
Click here (www.play4kay.org/marylandterrapins ) to donate to the Maryland women's basketball Play4Kay team page. Help us reach our goal to raise breast cancer awareness and funds for research on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.