GREENSORO, N.C. — With a chance at repeating as ACC tournament champions in jeopardy, the 10th-ranked Maryland women’s basketball team leaned on junior forward Alyssa Thomas, and the two-time conference player of the year delivered a virtuoso performance.
Disregarding stomach discomfort that had been bothering her since Tuesday, Thomas collected the first triple-double in ACC tournament history.
She finished with a career-high 32 points, including eight in the extra session, and added 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
It was second triple-double of the season for Thomas and it came two days after she was named conference player of the year.
Maryland will face third-ranked North Carolina in the semifinals on Saturday. The Tar Heels advanced with a 62-57 win over Boston College.
The only player in program history to win the award twice began overtime with a layup, and senior Tianna Hawkins added a layup while getting fouled.
Hawkins, a first-team all-ACC forward, made the bonus free throw before Thomas made two more foul shots for an 86-79 lead, sending the second-seeded Terrapins (23-6) on their way to Saturday afternoon’s semifinals in their bid to win an ACC-record 11th title.
Thomas moments later made 1 of 2 free throws and got a jumper in the lane between two defenders to fall. By that time, 10th-seeded Wake Forest (13-18) had three players who fouled out, leaving few options other than junior guard Chelsea Douglas (career-high 31 points), whose two free throws produced the only points for her team in overtime.
“With AT, I knew she wasn’t going to allow us to lose to her brother’s team,” said Maryland Coach Brenda Frese, referencing Devin Thomas, a freshman forward for the Demon Deacons. “What you see with AT is what makes her the two-time player of the year. All the plays she makes for this team, with her ability to score the ball, with her ability to lead and get assists for everyone on the team and her ability to go to the glass.”
In beating Wake Forest for the 15th consecutive time, Maryland shot 50 percent and owned a 42-30 advantage in points in the paint. The Terrapins also had four players score in double figures, including 17 points and 12 rebounds by Hawkins. Freshman guard Chloe Pavlech contributed 14 points, making 4 of 5 three-pointers, and junior guard Katie Rutan chipped in 13.
Rutan had a chance to win the game in regulation, but her three-point shot glanced off the rim at the buzzer seconds after Wake Forest senior forward Sandra Garcia sank two foul shots to tie it at 79 with 5.4 seconds to play.
The lead changed hands seven times in the final minutes.
“It’s tournament time, so we expect everybody to try their best because no one wants to go home,” said Thomas. “Credit to them. They played a really good game and challenged us today.”
●NORTH CAROLINA 62, BOSTON COLLEGE 57: Tierra Ruffin-Pratt had 19 points, five rebounds and six assists to lead the Tar Heels (27-5) past the Eagles (12-19).
●DUKE 79, N.C. STATE 65: Tricia Liston and the sixth-ranked Blue Devils (28-2) weren’t going to let the Wolfpack knock them out of the tournament again. Liston scored 10 of her 26 points during the timely run that helped Duke put away pesky N.C. State (16-16). The Blue Devils avenged a bitter loss to N.C. State in last year’s quarterfinal round.
●FLORIDA STATE 70, MIAMI 58: Alexa Deluzio scored 11 of her 19 points in the final six minutes to lead the Seminoles, ranked No. 23, to a Saturday semifinal against Duke. Florida State (22-8) won its first ACC tournament game since 2009 by beating the Hurricanes (21-10).