Nov. 16, 2007
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- With Laura Harper and Kristi Toliver leading the way, No. 3 Maryland used a dazzling display of inside-outside basketball to advance to the championship game of the Preseason WNIT.
Harper had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Toliver made five of the Terrapins' school-record tying 12 3-pointers, and Maryland breezed past No. 23 Notre Dame 75-59 Friday night.
Maryland (4-0) will play fourth-ranked LSU on Sunday for the title.
Toliver scored 25 points on 10-for-15 shooting, had seven assists and also grabbed a two rebounds.
"She's an All-American candidate for sure, and certainly one of the best point guards in the country," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said of Toliver. "We could not contain her or guard her in any way. It didn't matter what we did, she was going to score. She was the obvious difference in the game."
Playing without standout center Crystal Langhorne, who's out with a sprained ankle, the Terrapins spread out Notre Dame's defense with a barrage of shots from the outside. Toliver went 5-for-7, Marissa Coleman made four of seven from beyond the arc and freshman Marah Strickland was 2-for-4.
Harper, meanwhile, made up for Strickland's absence with her 12th career double-double, and Coleman and Jade Perry each had eight rebounds to help Maryland control the boards, 46-35.
"It's accurate to say we have something going from the outside and the inside," Terps coach Brenda Frese said. "I think we understand as a team, on any given night if they try to shut down someone, someone else is going to step up. With the chemistry we have on this team, we're having a lot of fun."
The 12 treys (on 20 attempts) tied the Maryland record set on Dec. 21, 2006, against UNC-Greensboro.
Charel Allen led Notre Dame (2-1) with 16 points. The Fighting Irish committed a school-record low three turnovers, but missed a whopping 48 shots from the field and went 1-for-12 from 3-point range.
"We haven't played this caliber team before. This is our first road game, too, and I think this game shows where we stand and how much work we need to do," said Notre Dame guard Lindsay Schrader
, who had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Up by six at halftime, Maryland got 3-pointers from Coleman and Strickland in an 8-2 run at the outset of the second half for a 46-34 lead. It was 50-41 before Coleman hit a 3 and Harper made two layups in a 9-2 spree that put the Terrapins ahead by 16 with 14:42 left.
"We took good care of the ball, did a lot of things we wanted to do, but have to be better defensively," McGraw said.
Both teams were extremely sharp in an entertaining and competitive first half that ended with the Terrapins up 38-32.
The Irish committed only one turnover in the opening 20 minutes. Maryland had seven, but made up for it by going 6-for-9 from beyond the arc.
After Maryland scored the game's first five points, Notre Dame went on a 10-0 run. Maryland responded with eight straight points, but the Irish regained the lead before Coleman hit a 3-pointer and Harper added five successive points for a 29-24 advantage.
The Terrapins never trailed after that.