Give it up for the seniors

The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK - Kristi Toliver had just come up with a steal and was charging down the court when she saw her fellow senior open on the left side. She fired a pass across the court to Marissa Coleman, who calmly converted a three-point shot. Toliver pumped her fist; Coleman screamed.

The two Maryland stars - whose jerseys will be raised to the Comcast Center rafters Friday night - then ran toward each other, gleefully jumped into the air, and bumped chests as the 16,344 announced fans at Comcast Center roared. There were still more than 17 minutes left in No. 9 Maryland's 77-59 victory over No. 7 Duke, but at that moment, as the Terrapins held an eight-point lead, it was time to exult.

Toliver finished with 34 points, one shy of her career high, in the Terps' seventh straight win. Coleman scored 24 points, which gives her exactly 2,000 for her career. She is the eighth woman in Atlantic Coast Conference history to have at least 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds (she has 1,035). With the victory, they are the winningest class in school history, with an overall record of 118-18. Maryland is 23-4 this season and 10-2 in the ACC, alone in second place.

"These guys have done this all season long at different times," Terps coach Brenda Frese said of Coleman and Toliver, who are averaging a combined 45.4 points in their past five games. "I thought it was great, in the second half [Toliver] got Riss going, and we just started clicking on all cylinders. That's what great players do: They make great plays, and they understand when they've got to get their teammates involved."

The crowd at Comcast Center - the fourth-largest in ACC women's history - seemed to still be feeling the euphoric effects of the men's team's thrilling 88-85 overtime victory over No. 3 North Carolina on Saturday. When a handful of the men's players walked through the arena 20 minutes before tip-off, the fans - many of whom were clad in bright red - gave them a standing ovation. As Frese put it when she addressed the crowd after the game, "Is it a great weekend to be a Terp, or what?"

Toliver and Coleman made sure of that. Toliver scored 17 points in the first half and was the only Terrapin with a shooting touch; she was 7-for-12 from the field, while her teammates were 2-for-20.

BC (18-9, 6-6) @NO. 9 MARYLAND (23-4, 10-2)

Friday, 7 p.m.


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