Congrats to the Lady Terrapins

The University of Maryland Lady Terrapins defeated Vanderbilt University 78-74 yesterday. And boy was that a close one. They trailed by as many as 18 points but thanks to senior Marissa Coleman who scored a record setting 42 points, the team came back to win a squeaker in the Womens Sweet 16.

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Coleman Carries the Day
Record-Setting 42-Point Effort Leads Terps Into Region Final: Maryland 78, Vanderbilt 74

By Camille Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 29, 2009

RALEIGH, N.C., March 28 — When the final buzzer sounded and top-seeded Maryland had finally put away fourth-seeded Vanderbilt, 78-74, in a heart-stopping NCAA South Region semifinal on Saturday afternoon, senior Marissa Coleman dropped to the RBC Center floor and squatted with her head down for a couple of seconds. The normally exuberant senior forward needed to catch her breath and rest for a moment.

“I was exhausted,” she said. And with good reason: Coleman played all 40 minutes, scored 42 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and made countless clutch plays in a game in which Maryland trailed by as many as 18 points and didn’t take its first lead until just 2 minutes 7 seconds remained.

Fellow senior Kristi Toliver scored 17 points. She and Coleman — the only two holdovers from the 2006 NCAA championship team — combined for 37 of the Terrapins’ 42 second-half points, with Coleman scoring the final, decisive four points.

“What more can you say about Marissa? I mean, just her will to win,” said Coach Brenda Frese, whose team will be playing in its second straight region final. “Both of these two [seniors], every game they just step up with that will, that heart, that determination. What a phenomenal performance by this team. It’s just special.”

Maryland will face the Louisville Cardinals on Monday at 7:00 EST on ESPN.

Speaking of Lady Terrapins, Marissa’s teammate Kristi Toliver graced the front page of the Washington Post yesterday.

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A Terrapin Walking Tall
Toliver Embraces Starring Role as U-Md. Pushes for Final Four

By Camille Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 28, 2009; A01

With more than 17 minutes remaining in the Maryland women’s basketball team’s second-round NCAA tournament game Tuesday night, Kristi Toliver casually walked over to where the ESPN broadcasters were sitting. Catching the attention of analyst Debbie Antonelli, the guard grinned and chatted briefly as teammate Dee Liles shot free throws.

Antonelli later said she had never before been approached like that during a game, but Maryland Coach Brenda Frese wasn’t surprised.

“I’ve never seen her do something like that before, but at the same time, she’s a senior and she’s truly in command of the game and her presence,” Frese said this week, as the top-seeded Terrapins, with a record of 30-4, prepared to play fourth-seeded Vanderbilt in a South Region semifinal this afternoon in Raleigh, N.C. “She’s playing with an all-time level of confidence.”

That swagger has defined Toliver more than any other quality over the four years since she arrived in College Park. As a 19-year-old freshman, she had the temerity to attempt a tying three-point shot in the closing seconds of the 2006 national championship game against Duke — and the ability to make it, forcing overtime and leading to the program’s only national title.

Since then, her faith in her abilities has only grown, as has her list of accomplishments. The Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, she enters this weekend’s games as Maryland’s career leader in assists and three-point baskets and the school’s third-leading career scorer. Along with fellow senior Marissa Coleman, Toliver has become the icon of a program favored to return to the Final Four for the first time since its championship. She is poised to become a women’s equivalent of Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing or Maryland’s Juan Dixon in the pantheon of Washington area college hoops heroes.

You can read the entire front page story here.

Congrats to the Lady Terrapins and good luck on Monday.

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