After a hard-fought loss at No. 2 Connecticut on Monday, starting ACC play against Virginia on Thursday night wasn't the easiest way for the Maryland women's basketball team to regroup. But regroup is what they did, overwhelming the Cavaliers in a 79-55 win.
Alyssa Thomas overcame a slow start to finish with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Tianna Hawkins also scored 20 and grabbed 12 rebounds. Freshman Tierney Pfirman scored a career-high 17 points.
I thought we did a really nice job tonight considering what a quick turnaround we have had, said head coach Brenda Frese. I thought we really responded and came out both halves really aggressive and ready to play.
The Terps looked to be in cruise control early, dominating the Cavaliers for much of the game's opening minutes Virginia made just two of its first 18 shots and quickly fell behind 22-10. Hawkins scored 12 of her points in the first half, helping Maryland race out to a 35-19 halftime lead.
The second half also started fast for Maryland, as Thomas scored seven points in the first two minutes alone and the Terps built a 28-point lead. The Cavaliers slowly tried to claw back into the game, closing to within 15, but Maryland used its size and strength to pull back away from Virginia for good.
We had good defensive play tonight," said Frese. We are trying to show what our identity is going to be
We have to have this kind of play every night, especially when we don't know where our offense is coming from.
Frese also praised the play of freshman Chloe Pavlech, who has taken over starting point guard duties since Laurin Mincy tore her ACL last week.
[Chloe] is just showing a great level of toughness. You can see that on both ends of the floor, she said. She's doing a great job, and has been key in us starting to get some continuity in our play.
The Terps had trouble staying out of foul trouble all game, with four players having three fouls with 12 minutes still left. Hawkins, Thomas and Alicia DeVaughn all ended up fouling out, leaving the thin Terps with just five players for the final two minutes of the game.
We battled through some adversity tonight in terms of foul trouble and Virginia going to the free throw line, said Frese.
Despite the Terps' lack of depth, Thomas feels the team is really starting to come together.
I think that we're starting to become really comfortable, and every game is something new and someone steps up in a different way, she said. I feel like we're really adjusting to the adversity and we're just as strong as when we started with a full roster.
The Terps next face George Mason on Saturday at 6 p.m.
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