Brenda Frese, Alyssa Thomas earn ACC Player, Coach of the Year awards

Frese had previously earned National Coach of the Year honors in 2002. Photo: Associated Press

The Maryland Terrapins women's basketball team will begin their run toward an ACC title on Friday, but on Thursday, they prefaced the postseason by earning two major awards from the conference.

Head coach Brenda Frese was named the ACC's 2013 Coach of the Year on Thursday, her first such honor in her 11 years at the helm of the Terrapins. At the same time, junior forward Alyssa Thomas was named the league's Player of the Year.

Maryland enters the 2013 postseason boasting a 23-6 overall record with a 14-4 mark in the ACC. That's good enough for the #2 seed in the conference tournament, which begins Thursday in Greensboro.

Frese, who led the Terrapins to their first and only national championship in 2006, previously won the AP's National Coach of the Year award as the head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

"This is an individual award, but it's really about every person in our program," Frese said. "I couldn't be prouder of how we've fought to get better each and every day, no matter the circumstance."

Thomas, who also won this award last year, leads the ACC in rebounding, grabbing an average of 10.4 boards per game in 2012-13. She's also third in scoring with 17.7 points per game and second in assists with just over 5 per contest. She's leading the league in each of those categories during conference play and has recorded 17 double-doubles.

"To be voted this honor again is really special because there a lot of really good players in our league," Thomas said. "I just work hard every day to make my team better and be the best I can."

Maryland opens up ACC Tournament play at 6 p.m. Friday. They'll play the winner of Thursday's Georgia Tech/Wake Forest first-round game.