So Sweet! Terps Advance Past Texas, 69-64

Maryland Athletics
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. –  The fourth-seeded Maryland women’s basketball team advanced to its third straight Sweet Sixteen Tuesday with a 69-64 win over fifth-seeded Texas at Comcast Center.

The Terrapins (26-6) have been to six Sweet Sixteens in head coach Brenda Frese’s 12 years at Maryland and 11 overall. With the win, they advance to play top-seeded Tennessee (29-5) Sunday in Louisville, Ky.

Senior Alyssa Thomas led the Terrapins with her 26th double-double of the year with 16 points, all in the second half, and 11 rebounds. Alicia DeVaughn added 12 points, while Laurin Mincy and Lexie Brown each had 10.

"I'm really happy for our seniors to be able to go out with a win on their home court," Frese said. "But like I told them in the locker room, we're not finished. I'm excited to be able to go, and we're going to make a run for the roses."

In a game that featured 15 lead changes and was tied seven times, Texas (22-12) rallied from an 11-point deficit to get within 65-64 with 43 seconds left. After Longhorns senior Chassidy Fussell missed a 3-point try, Mincy made two free throws for a three-point lead.

Nekia Jones then bounced a 3-point try off the rim for Texas, and Thomas clinched the victory by sinking two foul shots with 8 seconds to go.

"We needed a stop and I was able to secure the rebound," Thomas said. "It was just a moment of relief to know we had this one in the bag."

Krystle Henderson scored a career-high 14 points and Fussell had 13 for Texas. The Longhorns shot 36 percent (21 for 58) and got only six points and six rebounds from 6-foot-7 center Imani McGee-Stafford, who fouled out in the final minute.

The Terrapins trailed 38-37 before Thomas scored five points in an 11-3 run that put Maryland ahead for good in the second half. She finished 5 for 13 from the floor, but Thomas -- the leading scorer in school history -- had plenty of help.

"This is the most depth we've had in the four years that I've been here," Thomas said. "Just the energy and how we're willing to fight for each other. It's definitely different. It's going to be a special ride."

Thomas scored her first basket on a jumper with 18:21 left in the game. She added a three-point play with 16:26 to go, then followed a Texas misfire with a twisting layup to provide Maryland with a 44-38 lead.

Minutes later, a baseline jumper by Brown put the Terrapins in front 48-41, the largest margin by either team to the point. The lead swelled to 55-44 before Texas fought back.

This is Maryland’s 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance and 10th in head coach Brenda Frese’s 12 years. She's led Maryland to four Elite Eights, six Sweet Sixteens, a Final Four and the 2006 NCAA Championship. Her all-time record with Maryland in the Tournament is 23-8 (.742). The Terps are 12-2 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 5-2 all-time as the fourth-seed.

Game time and channel for the Maryland-Tennessee game Sunday will be released as soon as possible.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.