- Associated Press - Sunday, February 23, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - As the ACC tournament approaches, Maryland coach Brenda Frese likes how her team is playing defensively.

“It’s something we’ve really focused on,” she said. “When you talk about these last three games (that) we have to get ready for postseason, I thought we had a dominant defensive end.”

Alyssa Thomas had 15 points and 10 rebounds, Katie Rutan and Brionna Jones each added 15 points and No. 8 Maryland beat Georgia Tech 79-62 on Sunday.

The Terrapins (22-5, 10-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) never trailed in winning their second straight game and sixth in the past seven.

Kaela Davis finished with 21 points as Georgia Tech lost its second in a row. The Yellow Jackets (17-10, 7-7 ACC) have dropped seven straight to Maryland and 11 of the past 13 meetings.

“I think that’s one of the best defensive efforts I’ve ever seen a Maryland team give,” Yellow Jackets coach MaChelle Joseph said. “Obviously we had a hard time with their inside game.”

Thomas gave Georgia Tech fits all afternoon.

After finishing the first half with nine points and seven rebounds, Thomas showed why she’s been selected the ACC player of the year over the past two seasons.

In the first minute of the second half, she grabbed a defensive rebound, dribbled up the floor, made a long bounce pass to Rutan, who bounced the ball back to a cutting Thomas for a fast-break layup and an 11-point lead.

Thomas made it 41-29 on Maryland’s next possession, driving the left side of the lane past two Georgia Tech defenders for an uncontested layup.

Thomas, a senior forward, moved past Crystal Langhorne with a school-record 60th double-double.

“In the beginning (of games), I’m looking to get inside to my teammates and get easy baskets,” Thomas said. “Once that starts opening up for me, that’s when I start taking some shots.”

Maryland, the nation’s fifth-best rebounding team, pulled down 49 boards - 20 on the offensive end. The Terrapins outscored Georgia Tech 60-26 in the paint, 18-2 on fast breaks and had a 21-3 advantage in assists.

“I thought our post players did a great job of sealing them and being aggressive and demanding the ball,” Frese said. “I thought our guards did a tremendous job of leading them into easy plays.”

Georgia Tech had few bright spots, even in the first half.

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