- Associated Press - Sunday, February 9, 2014

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - If Maryland keeps playing this well, it might take Alyssa Thomas a little longer than expected to become the school’s career scoring leader.

Thomas scored 22 points before making another early exit, and the 10th-ranked Terrapins breezed past Clemson 95-43 Sunday to extend their winning streak over the Tigers to 14 games.

Maryland (19-4, 7-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won three straight blowouts following a three-game skid. The Terps defeated Syracuse by 25 points and beat Pittsburgh by 48 before dismissing Clemson without difficulty.

Thomas left with 12 minutes left against Pittsburgh and played only 29 minutes against the Tigers before heading to the bench with eight minutes remaining and the Terrapins up 71-37. The 6-foot-2 senior ranks third on the Maryland career list in points and needs only 129 to break Crystal Langhorne’s school record of 2,247.

Thomas won’t complain about her diminished playing time as long as the Terrapins keep coming out on the positive end of a lopsided score.

“Earlier in the season, if we didn’t come to play we would lose,” Thomas said. “You can’t take anybody lightly. So it doesn’t make me play any differently.”

Thomas went 10 for 16 from the floor, opting to take jumpers over driving the lane against the smaller Tigers (11-14, 3-8).

“She wasn’t quite in her beast mode,” Clemson coach Audra Smith said. “She was in mini-beast mode, which I appreciate. She’s just a phenomenal player. She just plays hard all the time.”

Brionna Jones scored 14 for the Terrapins, who opened with a 16-2 run, extended the margin to 21 points late in the first half and toyed with the Tigers the rest of the way. Maryland hasn’t lost to Clemson since March 7, 2003.

This was the only scheduled meeting between the teams this season. Maryland is slated to join the Big Ten next season, so unless the Tigers and Terrapins face off in the ACC tournament, it might be a while before Clemson gets the opportunity to end its lengthy losing streak against Maryland.

Smith isn’t complaining.

“I have to say, I’m not sad to see Maryland leave the ACC,” she said.

Nikki Dixon led Clemson with 13 points and Chancie Dunn added 10. The Tigers have lost six of eight, all within the conference.

“We turned the ball over 27 times and they didn’t press us,” Smith lamented. “But their defensive tenacity, and the way they get up in your face and take things away, made it very difficult for us.”

And still, Smith didn’t even believe she saw the Terps at their best.

“Honestly, I really didn’t feel like they were playing 100 percent,” she said. “I felt like they were playing about 70 percent, but their 70 percent is like most team’s 100 percent.”

Clemson trailed 4-2 before the Terrapins rattled off 12 straight points. Over the first seven minutes, the Tigers missed five of six shots and committed four turnovers.

A 3-pointer by Katie Rutan and a layup by Jones made it 23-6 before Dunn sank two straight jump shots. Dunn scored eight of Clemson’s first 10 points, but it became apparent quickly that the Tigers were decidedly overmatched.

After Clemson closed to 23-12, Thomas made three baskets in a 10-0 spurt that built the margin to 21 points. At that point, Thomas outscored the Tigers 15-12.

With Thomas on the bench, Clemson closed to 39-23 at halftime. But Jones opened the second half with two straight layups, and after Dixon scored, a 3-pointer by Maryland’s Katie Rutan made it 46-25.

Maryland finished with 39 baskets and 29 assists.

“Another dominant performance,” coach Brenda Frese said. “I really liked how we shared the basketball today as a team.”

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