With senior forward Alyssa Thomas leading the charge, the eighth-ranked Maryland women’s basketball team pulled away from George Washington with a decisive run to close the first half in securing an 87-51 victory Tuesday night in front of 3,433 at Comcast Center.
The Terrapins (3-1) beat their crosstown rival for a second straight time and for the fourth time in five meetings between the schools. The teams separated by 11 miles had not played since 2006, when Maryland was coming off winning its first and only national championship.
Maryland also recovered just fine from a 17-point loss to top-ranked Connecticut on Friday night. It was Thomas who kept the Terrapins within striking distance during the first half of that game, and she was at it again right from the start against George Washington.
“We were disappointed to lose to [the Huskies] after being so close in the first half and let it slip away,” Thomas said. “But we learned from that. We just tried to get better and come out and win this game.”
The two-time ACC player of the year had a double-double by halftime to finish with game highs of 18 points and 14 rebounds, and she began a 17-4 flurry by collecting a rebound and scoring on the putback. Freshman Shatori Walker-Kimbrough then made the first three-pointer for either side, expanding the lead to 30-18 with 4 minutes 59 seconds until intermission.
Forward Megan Nipe answered with a jumper for the Colonials, and Thomas did the same to keep the lead in double figures. GW again trimmed the margin to 10 on Dalacy Anderson’s jumper, but Maryland ended the half with 10 unanswered points, including going 6 for 6 from the free throw line.
“I really liked how we responded tonight,” Maryland Coach Brenda Frese said. “I thought we came out and played really hard for 40 minutes. We weren’t going to win it in the first four minutes. Obviously GW is really tough team, very physical, but I liked the fact that we improved in every area tonight.”
Maryland outrebounded GW, 53-32, including 25-10 in the second half, shot 48 percent from the field, 79 percent from the foul line and controlled points in the paint, 48-28, second-chance points, 22-8, and fast-break points, 14-2. The Terrapins placed four players in double figures, with Walker-Kimbrough’s 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting second behind Thomas, who went 8 for 13 with three assists, one block and one steal.
The Colonials lost for the first time this season and in their first game since knocking off then-No. 10 California, 75-72, on Friday at Smith Center. It was GW’s first victory over a ranked opponent in five years, and as a result, the Colonials (2-1) received votes in the top 25 poll for the first time since the second week of the 2008-09 season.
Nipe led GW with 13 points, but she missed 11 of 17 shots and was 0 for 5 from three-point range. The graduate student and junior guard Chakecia Miller (12 points) were the only players to reach double figures for the Colonials, who missed all 15 of their three-pointers and shot 35 percent overall.
“I thought you saw a Maryland team tonight that was mad because they knew Friday night wasn’t their best showing,” GW Coach Jonathan Tsipis said.
“I think something that we’re learning with our team, we’re coming off probably the best win in GW history in the last five years, and I thought Maryland was the aggressor. I definitely feel like that with the depth they have now they’re able to come at you in waves.”