When the Maryland womens basketball shares the ball and scores inside like it did Sunday, the Terps are awfully difficult to beat. Maryland had 60 points in the paint and handed out 21 assists in a 79-62 victory over Georgia Tech at McCamish Pavilion.
The Terps (22-5, 10-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), ranked No. 9 by the Associated Press, led by as much as 21 late in the second half in winning their sixth consecutive game in the series.
Maryland also played an outstanding game defensively, holding Tech to 35 percent shooting and its lowest point total in conference play since a 64-47 defeat to Duke in the league opener January 5. Both head coaches agreed it was one of the College Park, Maryland school’s finest defensive efforts.
“I thought we had a really dominant defensive end. It’s something that we really focused on,” said Terps coach Brenda Frese, who won her 300th game at Maryland.
“I think that’s one of the best defensive efforts I’ve ever seen a Maryland team give,” said Tech coach MaChelle Joseph.
Tech (17-10, 7-7), which fell to 1-8 against ranked teams, got to within 53-43 on a lay up by Roddreka Rogers with 10:41 to play in the game. Maryland’s Katie Rutan took over at that point, collecting nine of her 12 second-half points, three of which came on lay ups in transition, during a 16-7 run that put the visitors ahead 69-50 with a little over five minutes to play.
“I really liked how we came in and asserted ourselves in both hales, jumping out and being aggressive,” Frese said.
Rutan, Brionna Jones and Alyssa Thomas each scored 15 points to pace Maryland with Thomas adding 10 rebounds for her school-record-breaking 60th double-double. Lexie Brown, playing a little over 30 miles from where she played her prep ball at North Gwinnett High School, made just 4 of 14 shots, but handed out nine assists.
“Even though my offensive game (struggled), I felt like I still needed to contribute to the team,” said Brown.
“(Maryland) found the open person,” said Joseph.
For Tech, Kaela Davis led all scorers with 21 points, but was just 7 of 21 shooting from the field. Four others were in double figures as Tyaunna Marshall scored 11 points and Rogers, Sydney Wallace and reserve Aaliyah Whiteside added 10 each, though just Rogers (4 of 4) and Whiteside (4 of 6) were efficient shooting the ball.
Tech will play its final regular season road game when it visits Florida State Thursday at 7 pm.