- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 19, 2012

Five minutes into the second half, Maryland forward Tianna Hawkins took two dribbles down the lane and forced the ball into the hoop for the basket and the foul.

She stood near the block, fists clenched, and let out a roar of excitement.

The emotional outburst screamed to the 4,091 fans at Comcast Center, “Listen up!” It would have been hard not to notice the junior forward, as she bullied Wake Forest inside.

Hawkins set a school record with 24 rebounds Thursday night to help No. 8 Maryland box out Wake Forest, 86-58.

Hawkins‘ booming performance nearly overshadowed fellow forward Alyssa Thomas’ 13th career double-double. The sophomore was three assists short of a triple-double, finishing with 16 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

“Obviously, you look pretty good when you’ve got rebounding machines like the two we got here,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said, sitting between Hawkins and Thomas. “[It was] just a special night to see Tianna break the record. I’ve never seen anybody be able to get 24 rebounds in a game.”

Hawkins dominated the boards in the first half and was just three shy of her previous career high of 18.

“I actually had no idea,” Hawkins said. “When [Frese] came in at halftime and told me I had 15 rebounds, I was actually shocked myself.”

Maryland (18-1, 5-1 ACC) took a 28-19 lead with less than eight minutes remaining in the first half, but over the next four and a half minutes Wake Forest (11-7, 1-4) went on a 14-4 run to claim a 33-32 lead. The teams went to the break tied at 37.

The Demon Deacons’ backcourt combination of Chelsea Douglas and Lakevia Boykin accounted for 24 points in the half, but Maryland held the pair to just eight combined points in the second half.

“Well, I’m very disappointed that the ACC voted down my proposal to play 20-minute games,” Wake Forest coach Mike Petersen said, running his hands through his spiked hair. A few gray hairs poked out just above his ears — perhaps a couple more than he had before the second half. “That would have made this evening more enjoyable.”

Maryland went on a 7-0 run to start the second half and take a 44-37 lead thanks to offensive rebounding and second chances. The Terps outrebounded the Demon Deacons 56 to 38 in the contest and outscored Wake Forest in second-chance points 24 to 6.

“You can’t beat anybody if they’re getting back 60 percent of their misses,” Petersen said of Maryland’s 24 offensive rebounds on 40 misses. “I thought that was the difference.”

The Terps, whose scoring ranks first in the ACC and second in the nation, ran away with the game over the next 15 minutes, stretching the lead to as many as 27. Other double-digit scorers for the Terps included a trio with 11: freshman guard Brene Moseley, sophomore guard Laurin Mincy and senior center Lynetta Kizer.

Hawkins was limited in the second half after committing her fourth personal foul midway through. Needing just handful of rebounds to break the record, Frese took a team vote on the bench to decide if the forward would return to the game with minutes remaining.

“I asked the team if we should let her come back in,” Frese said. “They unanimously said, ‘Yes.’”

When Hawkins pulled down the record-setting board with just 33 seconds on the clock, the crowd rose to its feet for a deafening ovation.

About an hour after the game, Comcast Center sat quietly as a crew swept up popcorn kernels and picked up plastic cups in the stadium. Only the occasional sound of a mop banging against the arena chairs broke through the silence.

Then, came a second eruption. In a glass room looking out onto the court and the 2006 National Champions banner, family members embraced their athletes, celebrating the victory and Hawkins‘ record-setting performance.

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