Terrapins Hold On For 85-70 Win Over Duke Blue Devils
#20 Kristi Toliver drives the baseline against #4 Abby Waner in the second half of Maryland's 85-70 win over Duke at the Comcast Center in College Park MD on January 14, 2008. Christopher Blunck/DC Sports Box
COLLEGE PARK, Md -- Marissa Coleman scored a career-high tying 30 points and Kristi Toliver scored 19 second half points to make the Terrapins the first team to reach the 20 win mark with a win over the #10 ranked Duke Blue Devils.  15,531 fans were in attendance, marking the fifth largest crowd in Atlantic Coast Conference history.  Maryland currently holds the top seven attendance records in the conference.

"This was a very special win for our team and for our program," remarked Maryland Head Coach Brenda Frese.  "I can't say enough for this team and our seniors and our fans and what it meant to come out and play the way we played today."

Two free throw shots from Laura Harper got the Lady Terps on the board with a 2-0 lead, and from there Maryland extended the margin to 10-2 before Duke Head Coach Joannae P McCallie called time out to stop the run.  Her adjustments proved ineffective as Marissa Coleman sunk a 3-pointer and Laura Harper scored 2 baskets to extend the Terrapin lead to 17-4 with 14:21 remaining in the first half.

McCallie's second timeout resonated with the team and the Blue Devils shut down the Terrapin scoring drive.  The Terps went 0-4 from the field and were forced into 1 turnover that lead to a Blue Devil 10-0 run that cut the 13 point Terrapin lead to 3.  Duke's pressure and scoring drive lasted a mere 2:28 and showed the strength and ability of the Blue Devil defense to shut down the Terrapin offense.
Blue Devil foul trouble gave the advantage back to the Terrapins. With 11:23 remaining in the first half the Blue Devils reached the 7 team fouls threshold, triggering 1-1 shooting situations whenever subsequent fouls were called.  Maryland capitalized on the scoring opportunity and converted on 17-18 attempts (94.4%) in the first half. Duke was only sent to the line 6 times and made 5 of their shots.

Solid free throw shooting gave Maryland a 31-20 lead with 7:17 but Blue Devil persistence cut the 11 point lead to 3 after an 8-0 run off of a 3-pointer by Wanisha Smith and field goals by Joy Cheek and Abby Waner.  Waner was fouled on her last shot and sunk a free throw to cap the 8-0 run.

Maryland's response to the run was overwhelming.  The Terps regrouped under the leadership of seniors Marissa Coleman, Laura Harper, and Crystal Langhorne.  Coleman hit 4 free throw shots, Harper came up with 2 steals, and Langhorne hit 2 free throws to extend the Terrapin lead to 9 with 1:04 remaining.  With time ticking off the clock Coleman hit one of her biggest shots of the night when she converted on a 3-point attempt to put the Terps up 43-31 with 0:24 remaining. There was little the Blue Devils could do to stave off the Terrapin onslaught in the final minutes of the first half, and in the end it was a 3-pointer by Jasmine Thomas and a free throw by Abby Waner that gave the Blue Devils anything positive to talk about heading into the locker rooms.

Maryland left the court with the momentum and a 43-32 lead at half time.

The second half was a nailbiter for both teams.  Despite leading the entire first half and maintaining a margin in the second half the Terrapins could never completely pull away from the Blue Devils. Maryland extended their half time lead to 11 points with 19:03 remaining, but Duke responded and cut the lead to 3 less than 2 minutes later.  Anoter 9 point lead slowly dwindled to 3 points (a single possession) as Duke successfully slowed down the Maryland offense by playing zone defense.

With 5:59 remaining in the game the Blue Devils tied everything up with a free throw shot by Wanisha Smith that made it 68-68.  With the game knotted at 68 a piece the Terrapins responded by going back to Terrapin offense: fast paced and full court.  Pressuring the Blue Devils succeeded and Maryland managed to outrebound the Blue Devils in the closing minutes.  Duke also went cold and only made 1 of 13 field goals in the closing 6 minutes.  Their sole basket came with just under 2 minutes to play when Jasmine Thomas hit a jumpshot to make the score 81-70.

The Terrapins were solid in their play in the final 6 minutes, making 5 shots and only missing the basket twice.  Free throw shooting down the stretch was also a key factor as the Terps went 6-6 from the line. Maryland's performance in the final minutes of play gave the Terrapins the victory and a lot of pride for a hard-fought win in front of their fans.  "I'm very proud of how we showed our composure," said Coach Frese.  "Duke is a great team and they showed their power and their depth and what they were able to do, but we really kept our poise."

Coach Frese also remarked, "We talked all season about working twice as hard to have twice as much fun and tonight we had a ton of fun tonight.  We just want to keep this momentum going."

The Terrapins are now in the thick of conference play and must look forward to their matchup against Virginia on Friday evening.  The Cavaliers recently extended their winning streak to 7 games with a 70-57 win over Virginia Tech and have 5 days to prepare for the Terrapins to arrive in Charlottesville.  The 7pm game can be viewed on RSN TV.

After facing Virginia the Terps return home and have a quick 2 day turnaround before facing Georgia Tech on January 20th (Sunday) at 2pm.