#10: Terp Down 20, Rally to Beat Jackets
July 3, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Over the next few weeks Umterps.com will count down the top 10 wins in Coach Brenda Frese's 10-year career at Maryland. Coming in at No. 10 is the Terps' remarkable 20-point comeback 77-74 win over Georgia Tech on Jan. 6, 2012.
In just the second ACC game of the season, the Terrapins found themselves down 56-36 with 17:39 to play. In a matter of minutes the Jackets' large lead vanished and Maryland put itself back in it.
Sophomore Alyssa Thomas, the 2012 ACC Player of the Year, pulled off a remarkable second half, scoring 18 of 24 points in the final 17:39 for the victory. Sophomore All-ACC guard Laurin Mincy added 10 points, three boards and an assist in the second period to claim the win.
"The first thing that comes to mind is that Georgia Tech is a really good team. In recent years, we've had a lot of memorable games with them that could easily make this list," Frese said.
"This game in 2012 was really a defining moment for our team. Down by 20 in the second half, we could've easily quit. The way we rallied in this game, I think it really gave our team concrete evidence that they were never out of it. It's one thing if it's just me telling them that they can do it, but in this case, they actually did it. We had several players step up, especially in the second half, that helped us win."
Mincy sunk a fastbreak jump shot to make it a 1-point Georgia Tech lead with 1:40 to go, then Thomas made the winning foul line jumper with :17 seconds left for the Terps' first lead since the 7:01 mark of the first half. Mincy made a free throw with one second left on the clock to finalize the score at 77-74.
"The play everyone is going to remember is the final possession in which Alyssa Thomas hit that mid-range, step-back jumper with a foul, to give us the lead for good. A lot of coaches probably would've called a timeout when we got the ball across half court, but I trusted our players," Frese said. "I didn't think I needed to over-coach. It started with a great decision by Anjale Barrett recognizing that Alyssa should keep the ball and bring it up court, rather than give it up. Then, we got Alyssa into a situation where she could go one on one and she wanted that responsibility. She hit a terrific shot that will forever be etched into the memories of the Maryland faithful. It's a shot that everyone who has played basketball dreams about when they're alone on a court."
"The other neat part of that is that those of us in the program know how many hours Alyssa has spent in the gym working on shots like that. And it was the first of multiple, game-closing, memorable plays Alyssa made for us during her sophomore season."
The Terps' defense held the Jackets to just four points in the last five minutes of the game.
Maryland would go on to beat Georgia Tech 64-56 on Feb. 2 in Atlanta. The Terps' two wins over the Jackets would be the eventual tiebreaker to give Maryland the No. 3 seed in the ACC Tournament.