- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Basketball is a game of runs, and last night the Maryland women made the final push.

Thanks to a 17-2 spurt to end the game, No. 4 Maryland downed No. 12 Duke 85-70 in front of 15,531 at Comcast Center, the fifth-largest crowd in ACC history.

The win marked the first for the Terrapins (20-1, 4-0 ACC) over Duke in College Park since Jan. 30, 1998.

“This was just a very special win for our team and for our program,” coach Brenda Frese said. “I can’t say enough — for this team, for our seniors, for our fans — what it meant to be able to come out and play the way we played today.”

Known for its explosive offense, Maryland instead used its defense to dispatch Duke, holding the Blue Devils to one field goal in the final 6:15 of the game.

It was another showcase of the Terps’ improved defense, which will be critical if they want to return to the Final Four.

“It’s about pride,” said junior Marissa Coleman, who tied a career high with 30 points. “We knew it was going to come down to us getting stops on the defensive end. During the last six, seven minutes of the game, we were clamping down on defense, getting blocked shots and getting rebounds.”

Duke’s Wanisha Smith made the front end of a one-and-one to tie the game 68-68 with 5:59 left, the first time the Blue Devils tied Maryland since the first quarter. She missed the back end, and Maryland then ended the game with its flurry.

The Terps dictated the tempo in those final minutes, forcing the Blue Devils to play faster than they wanted. Duke obliged by taking quick shots instead of setting up its offense.

“We got a little outside of ourselves at the wrong time, and Maryland capitalized,” Duke coach Joanne McCallie said.

That facilitated easy transition baskets for Maryland, which were a welcome sight since the Terps suffered their worst shooting night of the season (39.3 percent).

The Blue Devils’ propensity to foul aided Maryland throughout the game. Duke was a step slow defensively as the Terps attacked the basket, leading to 28 fouls. Maryland cashed in, going 33-for-42 from the line.

The difference in the game was Coleman, who twice came up big for the Terps when the Blue Devils threatened to take the lead. She scored 10 points during a 12-4 run in the final 3:47 of the first half, pushing Maryland’s lead to 43-32. She also scored seven of the Terps’ 17 points in their closing run.

Marissa is a matchup nightmare,” Frese said. “I thought Duke had no answer for her. She was really strong going to the rim, which is something we’ve worked extremely hard on, and Marissa has put the time in with her game. I thought she was phenomenal to watch.”

Three other Terps players scored in double figures: junior Kristi Toliver (21) and seniors Crystal Langhorne (16) and Laura Harper (13).

Langhorne needs just five points to break Vicky Bullett’s career scoring record of 1,928.

“We wanted to send our seniors out with a win, and this was their last chance to beat Duke at home,” Coleman said. “It was special, and it was fun.”

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