"They're a very good team," Hatchell said. "Nobody's shot the ball that well against all year. We'll learn from it."
Maryland led 41-30 before Thomas scored seven points in a 14-4 run that upped the margin to 21 with 12:48 left. Hatchell received a technical foul and Ruffin-Pratt, the Tar Heels' leading scorer, picked up her fourth foul during the pivotal stretch.
North Carolina had not lost since Dec. 2, 102-57 at Tennessee.
The Terrapins got a scare with 5:14 left in the first half when Thomas leaped for a long rebound and was undercut by North Carolina guard Brittany Rountree, who was also in pursuit of the loose ball. Thomas rolled off Rountree's back and landed on her hip in obvious pain. Thomas was helped to the locker room but missed less than three minutes of playing time before returning.
"It was definitely a scary moment, but nothing that hasn't happened before," Thomas said. "Just a bump."
Maryland could not afford to lose her. Not only does Thomas rank second in the ACC in scoring and rebounding, but Maryland dressed only eight players.
Hawkins and Pavlech each had 12 points to help the Terrapins take a 37-25 halftime lead.
Getting two baskets and four assists from Thomas in the opening eight minutes, Maryland took a 17-10 lead before the Tar Heels used an 8-0 spurt to move in front.
Pavlech then hit a jumper and her second 3-pointer to spark a 9-0 run that made it 26-18. At that point, the Terrapins were 12 for 18 from the floor and Thomas had assists on half their baskets.