They call her Baby ‘Bron ‘Bron because of the strength with which she drives to the rack, but Alyssa Thomas is a lot more than that.
Faced with playing the underdog against one of the most storied programs in women’s basketball history, Thomas scored a career high 33 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and dished out 3 assists en route to a 73-62 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers. Thomas erupted in the second half, scoring 18 of Maryland’s 32 points and dishing out assists on key buckets to secure a victory in the Sweet 16.
The Maryland Terrapins forced Tennessee, which has had problems controlling the ball all year, to commit 22 turnovers. The Terps continually got out on the fastbreak following turnovers which helped expand their lead to 41-27 at halftime. From there, it was about minimizing turnovers and matching the Volunteers blow for blow with the aid of All-American Thomas.
The Terps are now 27-6 on the season, and have reached their ninth regional final and first since 2012. They also beat Tennessee for the first time in the NCAA tournament, and avenged their 1989 Final Four loss.
Lexie Brown also had 14 points for the Terps to go along with five steals, and Alicia DeVaughn had ten rebounds.
Tennessee’s Meighan Simmons was the other star player on the court, scoring 31 points in the losing effort. The Vols lost the game in spite of shooting 27 free throw attempts.
Maryland advances to play the winner of LSU and Louisville.