153rd RPI-ranked Wake Forest (10-13, 3-8 ACC) gave No. 7 Maryland (19-3, 10-1 ACC) a scare, but in the end the Terps prevailed with a 73-63 win in Winston-Salem Friday ngiht, as Alyssa Thomas and Tianna Hawkins followed up their 50-point combined performance against BC with 23 apiece.
The Demon Deacons trailed by just three with 2:31 remaining in the game and that was after being down 20 with 16:50 to go because Maryland had gone on a 25-6 run going back to the first half.
Maryland started this game off slow and trailed, 11-4, after an early 9-0 Wake run. The Terps did have their dominant stretch that in the end was enough to get the win, but for the most part the lowly Demon Deacons were competitive in this game, probably due in large part to the fact that Maryland only played six players.
Sequoia Austin sat out due to a concussion meaning that Maryland was left with only six rotation players plus former volleyball player Caitlin Adams who joined the team mid-season because of depth issues.
As a result, Katie Rutan played the entire game and Chloe Pavlech sat out just three minutes with no Austin to relieve them at guard. That duo had four assists apiece in the first half, but only one combined in the second. Pavlech also had a career-high six steals including a key one with under two minutes to play. Chloe doubled her previous career high of three steals and Rutan grabbed four of her own. Maryland’s 15 steals as a team Friday night is double their season average.
However, despite their guards playing all right and Thomas and Hawkins doing the same, the injury-depleted Terps continued to be plagued by turnovers, making Friday night’s contest too close for comfort.
Wake had 23 turnovers to Maryland’s 20, but 20 is still too much for a Terp team that wants to compete with the best teams in the nation. Pavlech and Malina Howard each had five turnovers and Thomas and Hawkins each had four.
The Demon Deacons, and Chelsea Douglas in particular, deserve a lot of credit too though for playing a great game and making it close. Although she herself had a game-high eight turnovers, Douglas was a thorn in Maryland’s side, knocking down 3 of 5 from downtown and 4 of 4 from the free throw line for 17 points. Asia Williams added 13 points and 8 rebounds and Lakevia Boykin added 12 points for Wake.
In addition to Thomas and Hawkins, Malina Howard also scored in double figures for the Terps with 12. She had a perfect game, going 5 for 5 from the field and 2 for 2 from the line. 10 of her points came in the first half.