Demauria Liles Named Tournament MVP As Maryland Defeats Mississippi State 80-73
Maryland's Demauria Liles was named Tournament MVP and recorded 16 points during Marylan'ds 80-73 win over Mississippi State in the Terrapin Classic played at the Comcast Center in College Park MD on December 30, 2008. Christopher Blunck/DC Sports Box
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The Terps took to the hardwood this afternoon to answer the challenge from the visiting Mississippi State Bulldogs in the second day of the Terrapin Classic played at the Comcast Center.  Demauria Liles, who scored 10 points for the Terps during Monday's win over UNC Asheville, tacked on an additional 16 points this afternoon and was a dominating force on the board, recording a team high 8 rebounds for the home team.  Voted Tournament MVP, Demauria Liles took it all in stride and looked forward to the next home game, an in-conference tilt with the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest on January 8th.
When not striking on the offensive end of the court, Demauria Liles was busy tying up the defense down low in the paint.  Liles was a menace on the defensive end to starter Mary Kathryn Govero, holding her to 5 points and a single rebound despite 24 minutes of play.  Liles was also instrumental in several transition plays that were created by turnovers on the defensive end.  Kristi Toliver and Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood pushed the ball forward on several occasions to ignite the scoring chances by the junior transfer.

Maryland Head Coach Brenda Frese summed up her opinion of Liles by remarking "Dee is delightful."  She added, "Big Strick was big.  Kristi was phenomenal leading us from the floor and really getting everybody involved.  That's how we're going to be able to punish teams when we really have that attack mentality."

Kristi Toliver, who sat out yesterday's game against UNC Asheville, ignited the hardwood with the enthusiasm of a RS Freshman looking to prove herself.  She led the team in scoring with 24 points and was charitable from the point guard slot with 8 assists.  Her presence on the court created a sense of urgency on the part of the Bulldogs as they focused on guarding the senior guard against her dribble penetrations.

When left out on the point, Toliver showed how lethal her speed and soft touch can be.  On several occasions in the first half Toliver led with a fake and reversed with a drive that left the Bulldogs looking for coverage.  Her presence in the first half could not be understated as Maryland shot 65.4% and went 5-12 from beyond the arc in arguably the best performance this season for the young squad.

After leading by 15 at the conclusion of the first half, Maryland struggled in the closing 20.  Mississippi State, under the leadership of veteran Head Coach Sharon Fanning, demonstrated their fortitude, clawing back to come within 6 in the closing 10 minutes.  Alexis Rack, a 5'7" junior guard, was extraordinary and piled up 27 points on the game.  Her lethal strike came from beyond the arc as she racked up 21 of her 24 points from the perimeter.

Maryland's Drey Mingo, who seldom starts, was arguably one of the most influential players on the hardwood this afternoon.  She entered off the bench and was perfect in her shooting, going 4-4 from the field and 1-1 from the free throw line.  She was also influential on the boards with 3 grabs in 28 minutes of play.

"Drey was a huge spark for us," said Maryland Head Coach Brenda Frese, "especially when Lynetta got into early foul trouble.  I'm proud of Drey - she has come back from Christmas and has had 2 of her best practices.  When we can have that kind of depth as a team we can wear other teams out."

The Terps look south for their first 2009 contest of the season when they face Richmond this Saturday at 3pm.  Maryland then returns to the hallowed grounds of Comcast and open their challenging ACC schedule with a contest against Wake Forest.  The Terps then must test their endurance as they'll face Duke, and Clemson on the road the following week before they come home and face Virginia Tech and North Carolina in the following seven days.