- The Washington Times - Friday, February 27, 2009

By now, Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman are used to emotional Senior Nights. The past two seasons, the Maryland seniors have watched other key pieces of the 2006 national championship team say goodbye.

So as they pondered their own sendoff before Friday’s game against visiting Boston College, they debated who would curtail her emotions the best.

“Marissa’s gonna be the one that gets more emotional. That’s just how she is,” Toliver said. “I got really emotional last year, and it wasn’t even my Senior Night, so we’ll see.”

Said Coleman: “She keeps telling everybody that! I think Kristi is going to shed some tears too. Last year, we tried to hold it together with the big group that left, but I don’t know how either one of us could possibly hold it together Friday night. We’re gonna see.”

Coleman, the ACC’s active leader in double-doubles with 34, is the eighth player in ACC history to garner 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career. Toliver leads the ACC in assists (5.1) and 3-pointers (2.7) a game and is the nation’s active leader in career 3-pointers (280) - which ranks third in ACC history.

But individual accolades aside, their identity as the two-headed monster proves more daunting to opponents.

“They know where each other is at in a 40-minute game on every possession,” coach Brenda Frese said. “That’s what’s fun. Sometimes there will be a penetration drive on the baseline to a kick, and I’ll be like, ‘Man, I didn’t see that one.’ They’ve got kind of a sixth sense of where everybody is at, and they’re just clicking with each other on all cylinders.”

That’s been evident during the Terps’ seven-game winning streak. Toliver and Coleman have been Maryland’s top two scorers in six of the seven games, most recently Sunday against Duke, when they combined for 58 points in a 77-59 Terps win.

Maryland (23-4, 10-2 ACC) has played its best basketball of the season during that span. And thanks to Virginia’s upset of Florida State on Tuesday, the Terps can grab the top seed in the ACC tournament by winning their last two games.

“We still have a chance to do something really special here that none of the other senior classes [under Frese] have done. And that’s to get the regular-season championship, ACC [tournament] title and win another national championship,” Coleman said. “I think Kristi and I are starting to click at the right time this season, and you see the rest of the team following our lead.”

But first will come the celebration of their careers. The Terps will raise their jerseys to the rafters in Friday’s pregame ceremony.

“I’m glad I’m not going to be out there by myself, be the lone senior out there,” Toliver said. “We came into this program together, and I think Friday will be a special moment for us to reflect on how far we’ve come.”

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