CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Alyssa Thomas' cheek-to-cheek smile rarely left her face Sunday.
Thomas made 12 of 18 shots and had 27 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal as No. 7 Maryland used a 26-3 run spanning the halves to blow open a close game and beat Virginia 73-44 at John Paul Jones Arena.
"She's a great player, great size, great strength," Virginia's Ataira Franklin said. "She got going early and she's the heart of their team. As she goes, they go and we weren't able to shut her down early, and you saw what happened."
Thomas was still smiling when the Terrapins' fifth straight victory in the series was over.
"I'm having fun," she said. "No reason but to smile."
Alicia DeVaughn added 14 points and Malina Howard 12 for the Terrapins (21-4, 12-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who led 29-25 before two free throws by DeVaughn sparked the burst 3:46 before halftime, giving Maryland a 37-25 lead.
Thomas, who had 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists by halftime, opened the second half with a driving basket and foul-line jumper. After DeVaughn scored, Thomas hit another 12-footer in the lane, Katie Rutan made a 3-pointer from the left corner and Thomas' free throw completed a 20-0 burst.
"We had a lot of fun tonight," Terps coach Brenda Frese said. "Just a dominant performance. I really liked how we ended before halftime and the second half was probably one of the best 20 minutes that we've put together in a long time."
It was nothing like that for Virginia, which made only 3 of 19 field goal tries after halftime.
"For me, it just disappointing," second-year Cavaliers coach Joanne Boyle said. "We are going on our fourth game scoring in the 40s and I just think we play fearful and I don't know what has changed or why all of a sudden, but we have to figure out that we can talk a good game and be in there prepping all we want, but until we have a team that steps up and believes they can make shots and layups ... it's going to be long nights for us."
Franklin, a junior guard, led Virginia (15-10, 7-7) with 21 points, but no one else scored more than seven.
Virginia missed 16 consecutive field goals tries during Maryland's burst until Franklin's 3-pointer finally dropped 6:22 into the second half. It was the first points for Virginia since Franklin's putback with 4:06 remaining in the opening half.
Rutan added 11 for Maryland, which moved into sole possession of second place in the ACC because No. 14 North Carolina lost 80-73 to No. 19 Florida State earlier in the day.
For the first 13 minutes, Virginia hung with the Terps, even after starting guard and second-leading scorer Kelsey Wolfe (11 ppg) was helped off the court in the early going with a right knee injury. Boyle had no information about Wolfe's condition afterward, but said the junior will have an MRI on Monday.
Virginia trailed 23-13 until two free throws by Faith Randolph sparked a 10-2 run. Telia McCall scored inside and made a 3-pointer from the top of the key, and Franklin followed with another 3 from the right corner, prompting Frese to call a timeout with about 7 minutes left in the half.
The Terps responded, holding the Cavaliers to one basket the rest of the way in a 12-2 run that made it 37-25 at the break. Virginia missed its last seven shots of the first half and its first nine of the second half as Maryland scored 20 straight.
The Terps came into the game second in the nation with a plus-15.8 rebounding differential, and their size advantage was evident from the outset. They got 22 of their 37 first-half points in the paint, outrebounded Virginia 20-13 in the opening 20 minutes and shot 55.6 percent from the field (15 of 27). Maryland finished with a 40-23 rebounding edge and shot 52.8 percent overall.
Virginia shot 26 percent (13 of 50), and was just 3 of 19 in the second half.