An athlete from the University of Maryland received a last parting gift from the ACC Friday when Alyssa Thomas was named the conference's Female Athlete of the Year. In winning the 2014 award, Thomas became the tenth Terrapin - four men and and six women - to win one of Maryland's eleven ACC Athlete of the Year Awards.
Past men's winners are: John Lucas (Basketball/Tennis) in 1976; Renaldo Nehemiah (Track & Field) in 1979; Len Bias (Basketball) in 1986; and Juan Dixon (Basketball) in 2002. Maryland women who have captured the Female Athlete of the Year are: Kelly Amonte (Lacrosse/Soccer) in 1996; Sarah Forbes (Lacrosse) in 1997; Jen Adams (Lacrosse) in 2000 and 2001; Paula Infante (Field Hockey) in 2006; and Katie O'Donnell (Field Hockey) in 2011.
Thomas, who helped the Terps return to the Final Four for the first time since the 2006 national championship season, led Maryland in scoring with 19 points per contest and in rebounding pulling down 10.9 per game off the glass. The senior from Harrisburg, shot 51.3 percent from the floor and her 4.1 assists per game were good enough for fifth in the ACC. Registering a conference leading 28 double-doubles in 35 games, Thomas also led the country with four triple-doubles for the season becoming only the third player in NCAA history to record six triple-doubles in a career. All of this led to Thomas joining Alana Beard as the only three time basketball player of the year winners.
In the voting, Thomas' 15 votes out polled Virginia soccer All-American Morgan Brian (10) and All-American Duke golfer Celine Boutier (8). The men's award went to Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.
Thomas, who currently plays in the WNBA for the Connecticut Sun, said, "It's quite an honor to be named ACC Female Athlete of the year. I was grateful to be the athlete of the year in my sport and this is just amazing. I want to thank everyone at Maryland for helping me get better and better all four years. They helped me achieve some of my biggest goals and I couldn't be more proud to be a Terp."
Of Maryland's all-time leading scorer male or female (2,356 points) and all time leading rebounder male or female (1,235 rebounds), Coach Brenda Frese said, "What a tremendous honor for Alyssa to close out her career being named athlete of the year in the ACC. There were so many memorable games and highlights in her career that she demonstrated what it took to perform at the highest level each and every night. She was a special player that impacted everyone. She is a player that will be remembered forever."
Indeed she will, coach. Indeed she will.