RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Alyssa Thomas looked as if she was on her way to a big scoring performance for No. 8 Maryland, only to see No. 18 North Carolina State throw a different defensive scheme at her.
The two-time Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year managed just a single bucket in the final 12 minutes, with much of that coming while she was guarded by undersized defender Len'Nique Brown in a diamond-and-1 defense. That proved critical as the Terps went cold in the second half in a 72-63 loss Thursday night.
Thomas, a 6-foot-2 forward, finished with 18 points but attempted just one shot in the final 12 minutes as the Wolfpack took over late.
"I couldn't tell you," Thomas said on why the defense was so successful. "I think it was just a combination of we weren't hitting shots and we weren't attacking the basket."
Thomas' layup gave Maryland a 53-44 with 12:21 left, but N.C. State answered with 11 straight points to erase the deficit. She didn't score again until getting a putback off an offensive rebound against the 5-5 Brown to cut the Wolfpack's lead to 68-61 with 31 seconds left.