One of the things that stood out about Maryland's 72-55 loss to Connecticut on Friday was the performance of Alyssa Thomas, as reported by Paul Pierre-Lewis of The Diamondback yesterday.
The Terps settled for jump shots at the start of the game, and Thomas hit her first three shots for seven points to give the Terps the early lead. The team was showing they could hang with the Huskies, and when Thomas hit her third straight jumper to make it 7-5, she flashed her signature smile as she jogged back on defense.
“I think last year, both games I was just extra amped up,” Thomas said. “This year, I just had to find a happy medium where I can come out and just play my game.”
It was indeed an impressive performance for a player who has been knocked in the past for a weak perimeter game, leading UConn to give her ample room to shoot all those jumpers on the perimeter.
Yet it wasn't just her scoring that made her start to the game impressive: going back through the first seven minutes of the game, Thomas had 8 points, 3 rebounds, and set up four other shots for teammates although she only one was converted into an assist. And off of each of those rebounds - which she had to box out the bigger Kiah Stokes to get - she was able to immediately push the ball to set up transition scoring opportunities.
Turnovers continue to be a problem for Thomas - she had two in that first seven minutes and six for the game - but she's a player who can dominate a game by doing more than just scoring, which is exactly what makes her a top 2014 WNBA Draft prospect.
For more on the top pro prospects, stay tuned to our 2014 WNBA Draft storystream.