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Alyssa Thomas Leads Maryland Past Wake Forest In ACC Tournament

9:40 PM, Mar 8, 2013   |    comments
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Written By Atlantic Coast Conference

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Something remarkable was likely to happen once overtime began Friday evening, and Alyssa Thomas made sure the rare achievement meant victory for Maryland.

The junior forward authored the first triple-double in the ACC Tournament's 36-year history, and the second-seeded Terrapins needed nearly every last one of her 32 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists to repel a challenge from 10th-seeded Wake Forest and claim a 92-81 overtime win in the quarterfinals.

With her team down by seven points with less than seven minutes left in regulation, she had a hand in nearly everything thereafter. That included five points in a 7-0 game-tying run and the assist on Tianna Hawkins' three-point play 1:38 into OT that gave the Terrapins the breathing room they had sought all day.

"What you see with A.T. is what makes her the two-time ACC Player of the Year: all the plays she makes for this team with an ability to score, to lead, to get assists and to go to the glass," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "I think we were resilient in the overtime and played extremely hard."

The Deacons were led by Chelsea Douglas' 31-point effort, and they got 19 from Asia Williams and 17 out of Lakevia Boykin.

"A pleasure to coach this group through the ups and downs," Wake Forest coach Jen Hoover said. "They fought hard for each other and they fought hard for me. I don't know how many people thought we would do what we did, but this team believed, and I am so proud of them."

Maryland (24-6) advanced to Saturday's 3 p.m. semifinal (RSN) against the winner of Friday's late game between Boston College and North Carolina. Wake Forest's season ended at 13-19.

The Deacons gave the Terrapins all they could handle. Before entering Friday's game, teams seeded five or more places below the opponent were 7-88 in ACC Tournament play. Those 88 losses were by an average of 19.4 points.

Furthermore, the Terrapins haven't lost to the Deacons since Feb. 13, 2003; the 14-game streak they brought into the game included a 27-point victory only four days earlier.

"It's tournament time, and you have to expect everybody to play their best," Thomas said. "It's a credit to them."

Thomas' all-around effort, foul trouble that claimed three Wake Forest starters in overtime and a Terrapin defensive effort that didn't allow a Demon Deacon field goal in overtime proved to be the difference in the game.

Thomas was at her best when her team most needed her versatile skill set against Wake Forest, which got 31 points from Chelsea Douglas and 17 out of Lakevia Boykin, whose jumper from the left baseline gave the Deacons a 68-61 lead with 6:58 to play in regulation. In the next 101 seconds, Thomas scored five quick points as the Terps erased the deficit. In all, she had a hand in 11 of the Terrapins' first 13 points after the seven-point deficit.

As a result, the teams engaged in a compelling back-and-forth exchange.

Chloe Pavlech hit a 3-point field goal with 32.9 seconds left to create the seventh lead change of the final four minutes of regulation and put the Terrapins ahead 79-78. The Deacons' chances appeared in jeopardy when Douglas missed a runner in the final seconds, but Maryland was called for a foul on the rebound and Sandra Garcia hit both ends of the resulting one-and-one to tie it. Katie Rutan's 35-footer at the buzzer was off, and the teams proceeded to overtime.

"We knew overtime was our time," Rutan said. "We really locked down."

Atlantic Coast Conference

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