COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Alyssa Thomas scored 28 points and Maryland defeated Michigan State 74-49 Monday night to advance to the round of 16 in the NCAA women's tournament for a second straight year.
The fourth-seeded Terrapins (26-7) will face top seed Connecticut in the Bridgeport Regional semifinals. Maryland reached the round of eight a year ago.
Thomas, a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, had 18 at halftime to provide the Terrapins with an 11-point cushion. Her layup with 15 minutes left gave her 25 points and put Maryland up 46-30.
The 6-foot-2 junior went 12 for 18 from the floor, hitting both her 3-point tries and her only two foul shots. Thomas was pulled with 4:08 left, ending her bid to surpass her career high of 32 points.
Annalise Pickrel and Becca Mills each scored 12 for No. 5 seed Michigan State (25-9). The Spartans' two leading scorers, Klarissa Bell and Jasmine Thomas, combined for six points on 3-for-9 shooting.
After being eliminated in the first round at College Park a year ago, Michigan State was seeking to reach the round of 16 for the first time since 2009. But the Spartans went 3 for 16 from 3-point range and did not get to the foul line until there was just over 4 minutes left in the game.
The closest Michigan State got in the second half was 36-27. Tianna Hawkins then made a layup to spark a 10-3 Maryland run that Thomas capped with a 3-pointer and a layup.
The margin swelled to 29 points with 5:25 left.
Katie Rutan scored 18 for the Terrapins, who improved to 15-3 in NCAA tournament games on their home court. Maryland trailed only once – at 2-0.
The Terps led 34-23 at halftime behind Thomas and a defense that limited Michigan State to 1-for-8 shooting from beyond the arc.
Thomas was on her game early, hitting her first five shots to stake Maryland to a 19-11 lead. She was also a terror on the defensive end, converting a steal into a layup and yelling triumphantly after blocking a layup by Jasmine Hines.
The Spartans were 5 for 18 from the floor before Mills made a layup to end a 12-2 Maryland run and cut the gap to 22-13.
With four minutes left in the half, the Terrapins led by 15 and Thomas had 16 points compared to 15 for Michigan State.
In her last four games, Thomas has scored 32, 26, 29 and 28 points.