The second half of the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule began in overpowering fashion for the 10th-ranked Maryland women's basketball team, which began punishing Pittsburgh from the tip-off Thursday night and, except for the rare lull, kept pouring it on during a 94-46 victory in front of an announced 3,758 at Comcast Center.
In winning by their largest margin for an ACC game this season, the Terps placed three players in double figures, including a game-high 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting from senior forward Alyssa Thomas. The two-time ACC Player of the Year rested the final 12 minutes, but not before adding seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals to fuel Maryland's second consecutive win after a season-long three-game slide.
"I really liked how hard we played from start to finish," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "I thought we were really unselfish in our play, so obviously at this halfway point just wanting to build. Back-to-back games, when you talk about at Syracuse [an 89-64 win] and to be able to come home tonight and again not play the score I thought was big for us."
Freshman forward Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 13 points with three rebounds and two assists, and freshman center Brionna Jones (Aberdeen) chipped in 12 points (6-for-7 shooting) and a team-high eight rebounds for Maryland, which played everyone on its roster except Malina Howard. The sophomore center sat out to rest a strained calf muscle.
Maryland (18-4, 6-3) beat its first-year ACC opponent for the eighth time in nine games. With the conference tournament coming up in less than a month, the Terps remained fourth in the standings. The top four seeds in the ACC tournament receive byes into the quarterfinals and avoid possibly having to play five games in as many days.
The Terps shot 55 percent, outscored Pittsburgh in the paint 36-18, and scored 17 in a row early in the first half to pull away for good. Five players scored during the surge that ended with a pair of foul shots from Walker-Kimbrough for a 21-5 lead with 10minutes, 37 seconds left until intermission.
"I think it was just part of our game plan to get the ball in post and just work into a double-team and kick it out," Jones said. "I think we really accomplished and executed what we wanted to do."
Pittsburgh (10-13, 2-8) went without a point for seven minutes during that time, and when the Panthers trimmed the margin to 10, Frese called timeout with 8:30 to play. The Terps came out of the stoppage with another defensive stand, this time limiting Pittsburgh to one field goal over 41/2 minutes.
With the game well in hand after a 16-0 run to open the second half, Frese was able to substitute liberally and let front-line players gain valuable rest heading into a rugged stretch that includes road games against Miami and fifth-ranked Duke and a home date with Florida State, which recently fell from the Top 25 rankings.
"It's good to see teammates get in there and get buckets," said Thomas, who moved into third place all-time at Maryland in scoring and rebounding.
New Hampshire 46, UMBC 35: The Retrievers (2-20, 1-9 America East) built a first-half lead, but they failed to protect it in the second half and lost to the host Wildcats.
The loss marks the ninth straight, all to conference opponents. UMBC used a 7-0 run early in the first half to take a 12-5 lead and had an 18-13 advantage at halftime.
In the second half, UMBC lost the lead for good on a pair of free throws by Kaylee Kilpatrick (14 points) with 10:16 left in the game. The Wildcats (14-8, 8-1) continued to build on that 29-27 lead. Sara Tarbert had 12 points for the Retrievers.
Frostburg State 75, Penn State-Harrisburg 63: Elaina Hummel scored a game-high 26 points to power the host Bobcats (5-13, 3-9 Capital Athletic Conference) past the Lions (5-15, 1-11).
Frostburg State has won two straight after losing the previous four. The Bobcats shot 33 percent from the field to take a 39-30 lead at the half. Lucky Snypse led PSU-Harrisburg with 17 points.
Mount St. Mary's 73, Sacred Heart 60: Rashad Whack scored 16 points to lead the visiting Mount (10-12, 6-3 Northeast Conference) past the Pioneers (4-20, 1-8).
Gregory Graves and Will Miller each had 14 points and Julian Norfleet added 11 for Mount St. Mary's.
Trailing 36-33 early in the second half, the Mount went on a 14-4 run to take a seven-point lead.
McDaniel 74, Washington College 42: Tim Stewart scored a game-high 15 points to lead the host Green Terror (15-5, 10-3 Centennial Conference) past the Shoremen (5-15, 4-9). McDaniel, which held a 33-32 edge in rebounds, shot 60 percent from the field.
Penn State-Harrisburg 75, Frostburg State 65: Nick Smoot had 20 points, but the host Bobcats (2-18, 1-1 CAC) lost to the Lions (7-13, 4-8).
The loss marks the fourth straight for Frostburg State.
Hood rescheduled again: Lebanon Valley's doubleheader at Hood has been postponed again because of inclement weather.
The games were originally scheduled for Wednesday, then moved to Thursday. They are now planned for Monday, with the women starting at 6 p.m. and the men at 8 p.m.
Baltimore Sun staff reports contributed to this article.