GREENSBORO, N.C. - The Maryland women's basketball team was edged 72-65 by third-seeded North Carolina in the ACC Semifinals Saturday. The Terrapins led until there was 5:40 to play, but Carolina went on a roll to take the win.
Alyssa Thomas led the Terrapins (24-7, 14-4 ACC) with 26 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists for her 20th double-double of the season. Senior Tianna Hawkins added 14 points and 10 rebounds and Katie Rutan scored 12 points, all off of three-pointers.
"I thought it was definitely a tale of two different halves," head coach Brenda Frese said. "I thought we came out with tremendous energy. We defended, we rebounded. We did a really great job taking care of the basketball and came out with a sense of urgency. In the second half, it was a different team. I thought Carolina came out much more physical and much more aggressive."
The Terrapins came out strong in the first half, leading the whole way and eventually and by as much as 16. Rutan drained three of her threes that half for the lead.
The Tar Heels (28-5, 14-4) scored five straight points to open the second half, then went on an 18-3 run and cut it to two with just under 13 minutes to play. Thomas sunk a jumper to hold them off for another seven minutes.
North Carolina reserve Latifah Coleman drilled a 3-point field goal with 6:04 to play, the game was even at 52. She then put her team up 54-53 - its first lead since the opening minutes - and delivered a runner down the lane with 3:44 to play to stretch the lead to four. Thomas hit a free throw to cut it to one with two minutes to go, but Coleman responded with a jumper.
Next, the Terrapins will await their NCAA Tournament fate. The NCAA Selection Show will be Monday, March 18 at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.