Feb. 23, 2014
ATLANTA (AP) – Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph knew Maryland presented a major matchup problem in the paint.
“I’m sure it was with good intention that each player was trying to make a play,” Joseph said. “But it seemed like we were each individually putting it on our shoulders to try to win the game.”
The Yellow Jackets (17-10, 7-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) have dropped two straight.
Alyssa Thomas had 15 points and 10 rebounds, Katie Rutan and Brionna Jones each added 15 points for the Terrapins.
Maryland (22-5, 10-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) never trailed in winning their second straight game and sixth in the past seven.
“I think that’s one of the best defensive efforts I’ve ever seen a Maryland team give,” Joseph said. “Obviously we had a hard time with their inside game.”
Thomas gave Georgia Tech fits all afternoon.
After finishing the first half with nine points and seven rebounds, Thomas showed why she’s been selected the ACC player of the year over the past two seasons.
In the first minute of the second half, she grabbed a defensive rebound, dribbled up the floor, made a long bounce pass to Rutan, who bounced the ball back to a cutting Thomas for a fast-break layup and an 11-point lead.
Thomas made it 41-29 on Maryland’s next possession, driving the left side of the lane past two Georgia Tech defenders for an uncontested layup.
Maryland, the nation’s fifth-best rebounding team, pulled down 49 boards – 20 on the offensive end. The Terrapins outscored Georgia Tech 60-26 in the paint, 18-2 on fast breaks and had a 21-3 advantage in assists.
“I think we were prepared for what they were going to run today,” Thomas said. “We knew everything that they were going to do. We were in the passing lanes. We made it really difficult for them to get into a flow.”
Georgia Tech had few bright spots, even in the first half.
The Jackets went scoreless for a 5-minute stretch before Davis’ 12-footer from the left baseline made it 20-14.
Marshall’s 3 from the right key made it 27-19, but Thomas followed with a putback at the 6:12 mark on the ensuing possession for the game’s first 10-point lead.
Marshall finished with 11 points for Georgia Tech, which trailed by double digits throughout the second half.
“You look at someone like Kaela and Ty – they’re just great offensive players, but we know their tendencies,” Maryland guard Lexie Brown said. “Actually, it’s a lot easier because you know exactly what they’re going to do and you can shut it down.”
Terrapins coach Brenda Frese credited Thomas, Jones and the rest of her team’s front line with dominating the inside.
“Yeah, we did feel like obviously feel we’d have an advantage there,” Frese said. “We wanted to be aggressive on the boards because they do a tremendous job and we wanted to do a good job of handling the ball. I thought with 21 assists and only 14 turnovers against their press, I thought that was pretty impressive.”