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ND Women’s Basketball: Toliver’s 25 points lead No. 3 Maryland in win

Bill Brink | Monday, November 19, 2007

The 25-point performance of Terrapins guard Kristi Toliver led No. 3 Maryland to a 75-59 win over Notre Dame on Friday in the semifinals of the preseason NIT.Toliver scored 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting and made five of seven 3-point attempts. The Terrapins as a team made 12 three-pointers in the game at College Park, Md.”She’s an All-American, for sure, and definitely one of the best point guards in the country,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said after the game. “We could not contain her in any way, and she is very impressive to watch. Whether we were in zone, man or box, it didn’t matter what we did. She was going to score.”Terrapins coach Brenda Frese said she was happy with Toliver’s play and eager to see where she would take the team.”We’re excited to see the level that Kristi is playing at, where she’s looking in transition, how unselfish she’s being and the way she steps up to shoot the ball,” Frese said. “Since we’ve tipped off the season, she’s been on another level, and it’s exciting to see her lead this team.”Maryland forward Marissa Coleman hit four-of-seven from behind the arc on a night when Maryland shot 60 percent from 3-point range.”I really liked to see where we understood the game plan,” Frese said. “In the first half, the perimeter play, the way we were shooting from the 3-point line.”Notre Dame kept the game close in the first half and took a 24-21 lead when guard Charel Allen sank a layup with 7:32 remaining in the first half. At that point, a 3-pointer from Coleman sent the Terrapins on a 10-2 run that made the score 31-26 with 3:56 left in the half.Freshman forward Becca Bruszewski and guard Lindsay Schrader each hit jump shots down the stretch, but Notre Dame went into the half down 38-32. Toliver had 11 points at the half and had made 4-of-7 field-goal attempts, including three of her five 3-pointers.”My teammates were running the floor really well for me,” Toliver said. “I think that made it able for me to have easy passes. Our post players are the best players in the country, so to be able to go inside-out and have wide open shots makes my job easy.”Terrapins guard Laura Harper pulled down eight rebounds in the first half alone. She finished the game with 13.”Rebounding was something that we were worried about, keeping them off the boards,” McGraw said.Schrader and freshman forward Devereaux Peters each had 10 points by halftime.Maryland started the second half by hitting two quick threes, one by Coleman and the other by guard Marah Strickland. A 9-2 Terps scoring run, capped by a Toliver layup, gave Maryland a 59-43 lead with 14:43 to go in the game. Neither team would make a field goal for the next 2:16 until guard Melissa Lechlitner sank a jump shot with 11:27 left.Three-point shots by Toliver and a four-point play by guard Ashleigh Newman helped extend the Terrapins’ lead to 20 with 4:11 remaining. Jump shots from Peters and Allen helped narrow the margin, but the Irish couldn’t close the gap.Notre Dame finished the game shooting 44.4 percent from the foul line and 36 percent from the field.”Defensively, to be able to hold such a great team like Notre Dame to 36 percent from the field. … We were just very excited with what we were able to do,” Frese said.In contrast, Maryland shot 47.4 percent from field-goal range and hit nine of their 10 foul shots.The Irish turned the ball over only three times in the game. McGraw said her offense played well but her defense left something to be desired.”We didn’t have many turnovers,” McGraw said. “We took good care of the ball, we did a lot of the things we wanted to do offensively. But we still have a lot of work to do defensively and that was probably our biggest issue.”