- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 28, 2009

On Friday night against Boston College, Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman picked up right where they left off last weekend against Duke.

The seniors scored Maryland’s first 30 points as the No. 5 Terrapins defeated Boston College 86-74 at Comcast Center.

“Usually for seniors on Senior Night, it takes a little while,” coach Brenda Frese said. “But not in their mentality. They have set too big a goals to let the emotion of this game get the best of us. They continue to put this team on their back, and they understood we needed to get a quick start.”

On the night their jerseys were hung from the rafters, Toliver and Coleman gave a memorable performance. Coleman finished with a career-high 32 points and nine rebounds, and Toliver had 27 points and five assists as the Terps won their 34th straight home game and eighth in a row overall.

It was the continuation of what has been an impressive stretch for the Terps tandem. Coleman and Toliver have been Maryland’s top two scorers in seven of the past eight games, and their 59 points combined were the most they’ve teamed for this season. Last time out, they scored 58 points in Sunday’s 77-59 win over the Blue Devils.

“I think we’re just more comfortable with the system and with the new players that we have,” Toliver said. “It’s obviously going to take time to feel comfortable and have that chemistry, and now that it’s coming full-circle, I think we’ve elevated our games.”

Said Coleman: “I just think there’s a sense of urgency in both of us, and we’re just playing together right now. You know, when you’re seniors you don’t want your senior year to end. So we’re just going to keep playing heart and passion until we get to the Final Four.”

For most of the first half, the Terps’ duo outpaced the Eagles. At the under-eight-minute official timeout, Coleman and Toliver were 11-for-15 from the floor while their teammates were 0-for-7. Freshman Lynetta Kizer’s layup with 6:54 remaining in the first half was the first Maryland field goal from someone other than the two seniors.

Yet pesky Boston College kept it close throughout the second half. Three Eagles scored in double figures, led by guard Mickel Picco’s 18. Lauren Whitehurst (16) and Stefanie Murphy (15) played well inside.

But Maryland never relented, going on a mini-run each time Boston College crept to within one or two possessions.

In the end, the Maryland seniors had too much firepower, and Coleman iced the game with five straight points with just over one minute remaining.

With the most wins of any class in Maryland history, Toliver and Coleman have a 119-18 overall record and finished with a 63-3 home record.

The Terps (24-4, 11-2 ACC) are now tied with No. 11 Florida State atop the ACC and can clinch the top seed in the conference tournament with a win Sunday at Miami. If both the Seminoles and Terps win their final game, Maryland will hold the top seed since it won the only head-to-head matchup between the two teams this year.

“I wish we could turn around and go play it now,” Frese said. “We’ve got a chance right now to go win an ACC championship. That hasn’t been done here in 20 years. I know this team is going to be well-prepared and ready to take on Miami.”

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