CHARLOTTESVILLE — The eighth-ranked Maryland women’s basketball team journeyed to one of the more inhospitable venues on its ACC schedule Thursday night, and despite building a sizable lead in the first half, the Terrapins 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 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.
Meantime, sophomore forward Alyssa Thomas had 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists to deliver Frese the milestone victory in her 10th season at Maryland and 13th season overall, including two at Ball State and one at Minnesota.
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.
The rebounding work helped Maryland hold 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 Terrapins couldn’t begin to relax until 4 minutes 54 seconds remained in the game. That’s when Hawkins scored inside on a pass from Thomas to give Maryland a 66-46 lead. Four minutes earlier, the margin had dwindled to 11.
Virginia (18-9, 6-7) had reached that point on two runs. The first was 6-0, and the last was 8-0 that concluded with two foul shots and a fast-break layup by senior guard Ariana Moorer (Hylton) with 9:07 to play.
Frese called a timeout two seconds after Moorer’s basket, and Maryland responded with 10 straight points while clamping down defensively. Virginia did not make a field goal for 61 / 2 minutes following the stoppage.
By the time Moorer (team-high 23 points) converted a three-point play, Maryland had the proceedings fully in 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.
It scored 14 of the game’s first 18 points and then used a 13-0 barrage for a 39-17 lead with 3:18 to play until halftime.
The Terrapins shot 55 percent in the first half and outrebounded Virginia by nearly 3 to 1 before the break.
So overpowering was Maryland that it was able to win comfortably despite a second straight game of 21 turnovers, along with a 1-for-11 performance from three-point range and 57 percent shooting from the foul line.
It was the second straight game in which the Terrapins shot well below their season average of 75 percent on free throws.
Maryland compensated, though, with an unrelenting defense that limited Virginia to 32 percent shooting, including 3 for 11 from three-point range, and held sophomore guard Ataira Franklin (Riverdale Baptist) to 10 points on 3 for 15 from the field. Franklin missed 6 of 7 three-pointers and had four of Virginia’s 12 turnovers.
“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: Evelyn Lewis and Taleia Moton each chipped in 15 points but the visiting Patriots (12-13, 6-8 Colonial Athletic Association) fell to the Tigers (16-9, 7-7).
Overtime arrived after Towson erased a five-point deficit with just more than a minute to play.
Krystal Parnell had 18 points and six assists for Towson.