Tianna Hawkins and Alyssa Thomas combined for their highest scoring output of the season with 50 points, allowing No. 10/9 Maryland (18-3, 9-1 ACC) to overcome a slow start and nine Boston College 3-pointers en route to an 85-62 victory Sunday afternoon at Comcast Center in College Park.
Hawkins scored a game-high 26, but Thomas had the more impressive overall outing with 24 points as well as game-highs with 12 rebounds and 4 blocks. Together they broke their previous combined scoring high of 46 set against Nebraska in the fifth game of the season.
“It’s fun watching the two of them clicking on all cylinders,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said of her two stars after the game. “When AT’s coming down the middle of the floor, I don’t know how people decide how they’re going to defend. And then when you talk about Tianna running the floor with her, it just gives you so many great options. Two players as special as they are sharing the basketball makes it very difficult I think for opponents.”
It ended as a great day for Hawkins and Thomas, but it started with the Terps staring at a 15-7 deficit with 12:23 remaining in the first quarter. BC had gone on a 10-0 to get it to that point, a stretch during which it seemed like they couldn’t miss and a stretch that included two threes in a span of 42 seconds. Maryland was in danger of allowing the Eagles to play their game, which is all about knocking down threes – they average more per game than anybody in the ACC.
“We just came out with a slow start,” Thomas said. “We were letting them get open threes and were just not really pressuring them. So it just came down to us locking in and not letting them get what they wanted.”
The Terps answered with an 11-0 run that featured four points from Thomas, a bucket apiece from Hawkins and Malina Howard and a triple form Katie Rutan. Rutan’s three made it 18-15 in favor of Maryland and the Terps never trailed the rest of the contest.
Hawkins and Thomas scored 31 of their 50 in the second half, guiding Maryland to outscore the Eagles by 16 in that period and cruise to another blowout victory at home. The Terps are perfect in College Park and their last four games at Comcast have all been won by 20-plus as have 10 of their 11 home games.
“I thought BC came in here and played really hard,” Frese said. “I thought they were aggressive and really made us work. But I thought in the second half we were really able to put our stamp all over the game.”
Kristen Doherty led the Eagles with 18 points off a 4 for 7 effort from beyond the arc. Kerri Shields also scored in double figures with 14 and had a pair of threes. Nicole Boudreau added two threes as well and Tiffany Ruffin hit one to give BC two more triples than their conference-leading average of seven a game.
The long distance shooting wasn’t enough to win the game though and instead the Eagles fall to 9-12 overall and 3-7 in the ACC. They were outscored by the Terps in the paint, 48-23, and on fast breaks, 20-5. They were also out-rebounded, 43-26.
“Coming into this game we knew it was going to be tough and physical, especially down in the post,” Doherty said. “We got together before the game and we just said ‘we know we’re smaller and we know we’re not as strong, so we just really have to work together and hold our own and help each other out as much as we can.”
“What makes Maryland so good is that they can take advantage of your mistakes,” BC head coach Erik Johnson said. “And so when we did have a bad shot or a quick turnover they were able to get out in transition.”
Hawkins and Thomas stole the show, but Maryland actually had five players in double figures scoring to help them amass the 85 points, which is tied for their highest point total in an ACC game this season. Alicia DeVaughn had 13 points to go along with nine rebounds, while Rutan and Howard each chipped in with 10 points. DeVaughn was an impressive 9 for 9 from the free throw line.
With the victory, Maryland extends their winning streak to eight games. They haven’t lost since Jan. 3 at No. 11/18 North Carolina.
Up next for Boston College is a date with that same Tar Heel team that is the only squad in the ACC to have defeated the Terps. Those two will meet on Thursday, while Maryland will wait until Friday when they travel to Wake Forest.