Playing its first game in a week, the 10th-ranked Maryland women’s basketball team overcame a ragged beginning against Boston College, rallied to claim the lead for good shortly before halftime and used another flurry after intermission to pull away for an 85-62 victory Sunday afternoon in front of 5,503 at Comcast Center.
Senior forward Tianna Hawkins scored 19 of her game-high 26 points in the second half and added six rebounds. The ACC’s leading scorer, who’s also tied for first in rebounding with teammate Alyssa Thomas, shot 11 of 14 from the field and made all four of her free threw attempts.
Thomas had 24 points, a game-high 12 rebounds, four assists, four blocks to match a career high and two steals to help push Maryland to its eighth consecutive win and 14th in 15 games. Junior center Alicia DeVaughn chipped in 13 points, including 9 for 9 from the foul line, and nine rebounds, and junior guard Katie Rutan and freshman center Malina Howard scored 10 points apiece.
“I thought we had a slow start,” Coach Brenda Frese said. “Whether that was a byproduct of having the bye week, I thought BC came in here and played really hard. I thought they were aggressive and really made us work, but the second half, we were really able to put our stamp all over the game.”
In owning a 43-26 advantage rebounding margin, 20-5 on fast-break points and 19-7 on second-chance points, Maryland (18-3, 8-1 ACC) moved into sole possession of second place in the conference, leapfrogging North Carolina after the Tar Heels lost to first-place Duke, 84-63, Sunday in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Terrapins shot 50 percent, made 20 of 27 free throws and committed just four of their 13 turnovers in the second half. They also matched their season high for points against ACC opponents and turned 14 turnovers into 17 points.
It was the Terrapins, though, who were careless with the ball soon after tip-off, and Boston College zoomed to a 15-7 lead. Frese called timeout with 12 minutes 22 seconds left until the break, and Maryland responded with an 11-0 that included Rutan’s three-pointer for an 18-15 lead with 8:52 to play.
The Terrapins never trailed again and grew the margin to double figures for good by scoring seven consecutive points in the second half. Hawkins scored six of those points, with her two foul shots putting Maryland ahead, 60-45. Hawkins, who collected all five of her offensive rebounds in the second half, made a layup for a 64-51 lead, and five straight points from Thomas provided an 18-point buffer.
“It was just coming in at halftime and being challenged by Coach,” Hawkins said. “We weren’t really playing hard enough. We came out flat. Just coming out with better energy [in the second half], and I think that’s what we did.”
The Eagles (9-12, 3-7) got a team-high 18 points from junior forward Kristen Doherty, who made 4 of 7 three-pointers and had six rebounds. Senior guard Kerri Shields scored 14 points with six rebounds and three assists but committed four turnovers, three coming in the first half.
Boston College was able to stay within reach in the first half thanks to shooting 5 for 11 from three-point range but lost for the fifth time in six games. The Eagles have lost three in a row to Maryland and 13 of 15 in the all-time series.