- Associated Press - Friday, January 6, 2012

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Down by 20 points in the second half, No. 5 Maryland turned to Alyssa Thomas to pull the team out of a seemingly insurmountable hole.

The unflappable sophomore forward came through with a brilliant performance that helped the unbeaten Terrapins stay that way.

Thomas scored 18 of her 24 points over the final 18 minutes, including a three-point play with 17 seconds left that carried the Terrapins past Georgia Tech 77-74 Friday night.

“Are you kidding me? Did you see what we saw?” coach Brenda Frese said. “To have the heart and determination and grit to be able to come back like they did is what makes this team so special.”

The Terrapins (15-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed 56-36 shortly after halftime and 72-64 with 4:23 remaining before coming back. After Thomas gave Maryland a 76-74 lead by scoring in the lane and adding a free throw, Georgia Tech’s Metra Walthour lost the ball driving to the basket and Laurin Mincy made a clinching foul shot for the Terps.

Thomas went 1 for 3 from the floor in the first half and 6 for 11 after halftime. She also made all six of her free throws in the final 20 minutes.

“I think the first half, I was a little too excited. I let their press got the best of me,” Thomas said.

And after that?

“The difference was Alyssa Thomas,” Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said. “We didn’t have an answer for her.”

Mincy scored 17 points and Alicia DeVaughn contributed 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Terrapins.

Georgia Tech (11-4, 1-1) came in with a six-game winning streak. Sasha Goodlett had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets and Tyaunna Marshall scored 16.

All of Georgia Tech’s defeats this season have come against teams currently ranked in the Top 25.

“I felt like we came out here with a good game plan,” Joseph said. “We got on our toes and we attacked early and we were able to control the boards in the first half and stop transition baskets, the two things thatMaryland does. We were able to take those away in the first half.”

The second half, not so much.

“We got more aggressive, attacked more and were more active on the glass,” Frese said.

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