CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The eighth-ranked Maryland women's basketball team journeyed to one of the more inhospitable venues on its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule Thursday night, and despite building a sizable lead in the first half, the Terps required a late flurry to ensure a 73-56 victory over Virginia at John Paul Jones Arena that was the 300th career win for coach Brenda Frese.
Before an announced 3,310 vocal fans, junior forward Tianna Hawkins scored a career-high 26 points on 12-of-13 shooting and collected a game-high 14 rebounds, and sophomore forward Alyssa Thomas had 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists to deliver Frese the milestone victory in her 10th season at Maryland.
The Terps (22-4, 9-4 ACC) swept the regular-season series against Virginia for the first time in four years and recovered from a disheartening two-point loss to No. 6 Miami on Sunday. They also won for the fourth time in five games and for a third consecutive game on the road thanks to outrebounding Virginia 53-26, including 22-12 offensively, and holding a 48-20 advantage in points in the paint.
"We were really inspired to get her 300th win against a team that we're used to splitting with," Thomas said. "It's a pretty big deal for us."
The Terps couldn't begin to relax until 4 minutes, 54seconds remained in the game. That's when Hawkins scored inside on a pass from Thomas to give Maryland a 66-46 lead that had dwindled to 11 points four minutes earlier.
Virginia (18-9, 6-7) had reached that point on two runs. The first was 6-0, and the last was 8-0; it concluded with two foul shots and a fast-break layup by senior guard Ariana Moorer with 9:07 to play.
Frese called timeout two seconds after Moorer's basket, and while Maryland responded with 10 straight points, the Terps also clamped down defensively. Virginia did not make a field goal for 61/2 minutes after the stoppage, and by the time Moorer (team-high 23 points) converted a three-point play, Maryland had the proceedings fully under control.
"We came out and just got punched and didn't respond until the second half," Cavaliers coach Joanne Boyle said. "It was our worst game of the year."
Maryland delivered that staggering blow right away, scoring 14 of the game's first 18 points and then using a 13-0 barrage for a 39-17 lead with 3:18 to play until halftime. The Terps shot 55 percent in the first half and outrebounded Virginia by nearly three to one before the break.
So overpowering was Maryland that it was able to win comfortably despite a second straight game of 21 turnovers, going 1-for-11 from 3-point range and shooting 57 percent from the foul line. It was the second straight game in which the Terps shot well below their season average of 75 percent from the line.
Maryland compensated, though, with an unrelenting defense that limited Virginia to 32 percent shooting, including 3-for-11 from 3-point range.
"I've been so fortunate," Frese said of her historic night. "You don't get 300 wins unless first and foremost you have great players, and I've been fortunate in my time to have a lot of great players. Then you talk about your coaches and your support staff. Just so many great people that work behind the scenes, and none of that is possible, to get 300 wins, without collectively a great team effort. That's what 300 means to me."
Towson 70, George Mason 68, OT: Sheree Ledbetter made the game-winning layup with two seconds left in overtime as the host Tigers (16-9, 7-7 Colonial Athletic Association) beat the Patriots (12-13, 6-8).
Krystal Parnell hit two free throws with 19 seconds left in regulation to tie the score at 59 and force overtime.
Johns Hopkins 76, Bryn Mawr 26: Alex Vassila scored 16 points and the host Blue Jays (21-3, 17-3) will next host the Centennial Conference tournament next Friday. The Owls fell to 0-24, 0-19.
Mount St. Mary's 77, Fairleigh Dickinson 63: Acting coach Matt Henry earned his first career win as freshman walk-on Kelvin Parker posted a career-high 21 points to power the host Mount (7-19, 5-10 Northeast Conference).
Mount St. Mary's went on a 30-6 first-half run to take control and win its seventh straight against the Knights (2-24, 1-14).
Baltimore Sun staff reports contributed to this article.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times