GREENSBORO, N.C. – Senior Alyssa Thomas of the fifth-ranked Maryland women's basketball team was named Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year for the third consecutive year by the Blue Ribbon Panel Wednesday. Thomas is just the second player in history to earn the ACC’s top individual honor three times.
Thomas was named ACC Freshman of the Year in 2011, then was named Player of the Year in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Duke’s Alana Beard was named ACC Player of the Year in her sophomore, junior and senior seasons, from 2002 to 2004, after being named Freshman of the Year in 2001. They are the only players in ACC women's basketball history with four straight individual honors.
Thomas is the fourth player under head coach Brenda Frese to earn the league’s top honor. Maryland (24-5, 12-4 ACC) has won the honor in five of the last seven years with Crystal Langhorne (2008), Kristi Toliver (2009) and Thomas the last three years.
“This is amazing to be honored for the third time in a really tough conference,” Thomas said. “It’s an honor to be in the same company as the people and players I am. I'm just really proud to represent Maryland and want to thank my teammates and coaches over the years. No success comes without them.”
This year, Thomas led the Terrapins in scoring with 18.7 point per game and in rebounding with 10.8 rebounds per game and averaged 4.3 assists per game. She has scored in double figures in 28 of 29 games this year, all consecutive. She is just 14 points from breaking Langhorne’s program record of 2,247 points and 36 points from passing Juan Dixon’s school record of 2,269 points.
“There are a lot of great players in the ACC,” Frese said. “It’s amazing when you have a player win this honor once. Three times in a row, in what is one of the deepest, most competitive conferences is a testament to her place in history.”
“We couldn’t be happier for Alyssa and I think she has more than earned this honor. She’s so humble, she would be the first to credit her terrific teammates for helping her achieve this rare trifecta. When you think about what she does for us every time we play, it’s amazing. From the first time I saw her play, she has always passed one of the crucial tests for what great players are all about- she makes everyone around her better.”
Thomas picked up an ACC-best 23 double-doubles this year and led the nation with four triple-doubles. She is one of just three players in NCAA history with six or more triple-doubles in her career and is one triple-double shy of tying the NCAA career and season records.
Thomas’ jersey was honored in the rafters of Comcast Center Sunday after the Senior Day game vs. Virginia Tech. She is the ninth player in Maryland history honored, joining Langhorne, Toliver, Marissa Coleman, Shay Doron and Laura Harper. The jerseys of Vicky Bullett, Tara Heiss and Jasmina Perazic are all retired.
The Terrapins are ranked No. 8 in the latest Associated Press poll and No. 5 in the USA Today Coaches poll.
Next, third-seeded Maryland will play Friday at 8:00 p.m. in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals at the Greensboro Coliseum. The Terrapins earned a double-bye as the No. 3 seed. They will play either the 6-seed North Carolina, the 11-seed Wake Forest or the 14-seed Pittsburgh in the Quarterfinals. Wake Forest and Pittsburgh will play at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the First Round, with the winner advancing to play North Carolina Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Second Round.
The Terrapins’ matchup Friday night will be shown on Comcast SportsNet locally, as well as Fox Sports South and more channels across the nation. For other channels and more information on the ACC Tournament, log on to http://www.theacc.com/#!/page/championship_w-baskbl.