After another disappointing loss for the men, we can all celebrate some good news from yesterday - the Lady Terps defeated Georgia Tech 68-65 on Sunday to capture the ACC Tournament, their second under head coach Brenda Frese.
Just before the game, ESPN showed Frese in the locker room talking to the team. She was wearing her ACC Tournament ring from 2009, showing it to the current players and telling them they needed to win one today to leave their own mark on the program. Frese said that during every timeout, she was going to show them that ring so they remembered what they were working to accomplish today. Apparently it worked.
Alyssa Thomas again showed why she was deserving of the ACC player of the year award as she scored a career-high 29 points to lead Maryland to their third victory over the Yellow Jackets this season. Georgia Tech jut couldn't stop her when she got the ball, whether it was in the paint where she's back them down or at the top of the key, where she'd drive and score.
"Alyssa is by far the most competitive player I've ever coached and I've coached a lot of great players" Brenda Frese said. And as Frese notes, that's saying a lot considering the players that have come through Maryland since she took over the program.
More on the game, including video highlights, after the jump...
The game was a close one from start to finish, as the biggest lead for either team was just eight points. Maryland held the lead for most of the game, however, It appeared that the Terps would enter the half with a five point lead, but Tyaunna Marshall (25 pts) of Georgia Tech hit an amazing three-point shot as time expired to cut the Maryland lead to just two entering halftime.
The second half was tense for both teams, as neither was able to pull away from the other. Maryland finally built a their lead back up to seven with just over six minutes remaining, but Georgia Tech answered with an 11-2 run that saw them capture their first lead of the half with just over two minutes remaining. But Maryland wasn't about to let this game slip away from them.
Two of Maryland's seniors, Lynetta Kizer (11 pts, 6 rebs) and Anjale Barrett (8 pts, 6 assists) made back to back baskets for the Terps with just over a minute remaining, giving them a two point lead. After Kizer made a jump shot to tie the game at 63, Georgia Tech had a costly turnover that gave the ball right back to Maryland. Moments later, Barrett drove to the basket to give Maryland the two point lead.
On their next possession, Georgia Tech missed two shots before Maryland could finally secure the rebound. Tech was then forced to foul and sent Thomas to the line, who sank both free-throws to give Maryland a four point lead. Sophomore center Alicia DeVaughn then blocked a Georgia Tech layup and secured the rebound, which should have wrapped up the game for the Terps. But Barrett turned the ball over and then fouled Georgia Tech's Tyaunna Marshall, sending the Yellow Jacket's leading scorer to the line with just 12 seconds remaining. She made both free throws, cutting the lead back down to two. After inbounding the ball, Tech fouled Barrett, sending the senior to the line to give what Maryland fans hoped would be a two possession lead. After making the first attempt from the charity strip to push Maryland's lead back up to three, she missed the second attempt.
After calling a timeout, Tech had the ball, down three, with five seconds remaining. They got the ball to Tyaunna Marshall, but Marshall's three point attempt as time expired missed the basket and Maryland secured their second ACC Tournament title under Brenda Frese.
The win also marked a record 10th ACC Tournament title for Maryland.
Winning the ACC Tournament could get Maryland the last number 1 seed in the ACC Tournament. Regardless of their seed, Maryland will likely be playing their first two NCAA Tournament games at Comcast Center, as Maryland is hosting the first two rounds this year.
Congrats again to the Lady Terps and best of luck in the upcoming NCAA Tournament! Check out highlights from the game below: