Terps Defeat UNC on Senior Night

Terps use 20 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists by Alyssa Thomas to defeat UNC.

On a night that began with honoring seniors Anjale Barrett, Lynetta Kizer, and Kim Rodgers for their years of dedication to the program, it was Maryland's sophomores who catapulted the No. 6 Maryland Terrapins over the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Sophomores Alyssa Thomas, Alicia DeVaughn, and Laurin Mincy combined to score 57 points, and the Terps took down UNC in their final home game of the season.

It was all Maryland from the start, as two quick threes by Rodgers and one by Kizer put the Terps up 11-1 not even five minutes in. That lead quickly became 24-8 minutes later, as Maryland held firm control on the game early.

“We were in a really good rhythm in the first half and I thought we came with the knockout punch early that they were never able to recover from,” said Maryland Head Coach Brenda Frese.

Alyssa Thomas agreed, adding, “Coach stressed we needed to come out and play hard for our seniors so it could be a memory they would always remember. So, we went out and played as hard as we could for them.”

North Carolina struggled mightily from the field in the first half, dipping to as low as 13% from the floor before finally getting some shots to fall. But the Terps were relentless offensively, shooting 51% for the half to take a 53-29 lead going into the locker room.

The Terrapins shot well from the floor all night, but from behind the arc they were exceptional, knocking down eight of their 10 three-point attempts as a team.

Are you kidding me, 80 percent? We shot better from the 3-point line than the free throw line,” said Frese. “Having Kim and Laurin hitting on all cylinders makes us really, really dangerous.”

Mincy made all three of her attempts from behind the arc to help her finish with 13 points. Thomas filled up the stat sheet with 20 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists in a near triple-double effort, and DeVaughn added 14 points in one of her strongest offensive showings of the season.

North Carolina was able to keep the game much closer in the second half thanks to a much-improved shooting effort, but the damage was too much for them to overcome.

I really think we just came out flat tonight, and we dug ourselves a hole that we couldn't get out of,” said Chay Shegog, who finished with a game-high 24 points for UNC.

With 1:36 left and the game in hand, Frese took her seniors out as they left to a standing ovation from a crowd of over eight thousand in Comcast Center, hugging their teammates and coaches on the bench. Each senior made solid contributions tonight, with Rodgers hitting three three's to go along with five rebounds, Barrett adding six points and five assists, and Kizer finishing with seven points, five rebounds, and four steals.

“It was fitting for three players who have given four and five years to this program,” said Frese. “Kim and Anjale and the injuries they have had, you couldn't have scripted a bigger night and you couldn't have scripted a better week, beating Duke and Carolina in the same week.”

Both Rodgers and Kizer received their first starts of the season, joining point guard and fellow senior Anjale Barrett in the starting line-up for the special night.

"It's been a long five years here, and the journey's been really nice so just to hear my name that one last time in front of the home crowd was cool,” said Rodgers.

Maryland has just one game left on the schedule, a 2 p.m. match-up on the road with North Carolina State on Sunday. After that, the team will have a week to prepare for the ACC Tournament next weekend in Greensboro, NC.

“This is how you want to finish, you finish strong,” said Frese. “You want to be peaking come March, and this is where this team is at.”

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