- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 20, 2007

HARTFORD, Conn. — Kristi Toliver likes seeing teammate and fellow point guard Sa’de Wiley-Gatewood get major playing time. Just not at the expense of Toliver losing her starting job.

Wiley-Gatewood started for the first time Sunday in Maryland’s NCAA tournament first-round victory against Harvard and is expected to start tonight against Mississippi in the second round of the Dayton Region.

Toliver’s streak of 49 consecutive starts ended, but she came off the bench to score 13 points and record nine assists in the Terps’ 89-65 win over the Crimson.

“I’m trying to approach every game the same and not think about it,” Toliver said yesterday after practice at Hartford Civic Center. “The more I think about, the more frustrated I’ll probably get. It’s tough. But I need to have a mind-set of doing whatever I can to help the team win games. I can’t get frustrated and be zoned in on why I’m not starting.”

When Toliver and Wiley-Gatewood are on the floor together, Toliver can slide to the shooting guard. It also frees up Shay Doron and Marissa Coleman from their occasional ball-handling duties.

“It gives us a lot more options,” Doron said. “When they’re pushing the ball, it’s about getting the ball to the shooters.”

Said Toliver: “It’s always nice to have somebody come in and be able to handle the ball at the ‘1’ spot and let me play the ‘2.’ It works well because we’re all good shooters. For me, it’s different having people looking to get me a shot.”

Rebels want to brawl

Even though Mississippi averages 77.4 points a game and specializes in scoring transition baskets off turnovers, the Rebels also want to play aggressively.

“We just want to get out there and brawl and make it ugly,” guard Armintie Price said. “That’s how we win most of the time, by making it ugly.”

Countered Doron: “We’ve got some brawlers on this team. Sure, we’ll play aggressive and tough.”

Job fair

Texas, Florida, Louisiana State, Washington and Michigan all have openings for a new coach, and it’s possible any search committee will have Frese high on their list given Maryland’s success since her arrival before the 2002-03 season.

“I haven’t really given it much thought,” she said. “You hear rumors and whispers and a lot of people might put my name into the mix given the profile of the team and the success we’ve had.”

Even though she’s likely to stay put, Frese is interested to see how the dominoes fall within the sport.

“It will have a major impact on our sport, and it will have a major trickle-down effect, from the mid-major head coaches advancing to higher-profile jobs to top assistants moving on,” she said.

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