- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 13, 2009

DURHAM, N.C. | Abby Waner remembered how Maryland - and especially Kristi Toliver - broke her heart three years ago in her biggest game at Duke.

The stakes weren’t quite as high this time, but the Blue Devils weren’t about to let the Terrapins‘ sharpshooter do it again.

“I will never take a three-point lead with only a few seconds to go for granted,” Waner said.

The senior helped No. 4 Duke hold on to beat No. 12 Maryland 68-65 on Monday night for its 12th straight victory - but not before the Blue Devils let a big lead slip away and Jasmine Thomas saved Duke’s victory with four clutch free throws.

Joy Cheek had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Chante Black added 13 points and 14 rebounds. They helped the Blue Devils (14-1, 2-0 ACC) extend the best start in Joanne P. McCallie’s coaching career.

Marissa Coleman scored 14 points for Maryland (13-3, 1-1), which erased a 13-point deficit and used a 14-4 run fueled by 3-pointers to take its only lead of the second half. The Terrapins trailed 64-62 in the final minute and milked the clock before Toliver’s 3-pointer with about 10 seconds left circled the rim and popped out.

“We just wanted to make sure that she was contested in a multiple fashion if possible,” McCallie said. “You can’t get the ball out of her hands, so you need to do something to direct the shot as much as possible.”

Thomas - a career 60 percent shooter from the line - hit two free throws with 7.7 seconds left to put Duke up 66-62. Toliver pulled Maryland within one by hitting a 3 with two seconds remaining.

Thomas knocked down two more foul shots with 1.7 seconds left. But unlike the 2006 national championship game - when Toliver’s 3 in the closing seconds against Duke forced overtime and sent the Terrapins to their first title - she couldn’t get a desperation heave off before the horn.

“It’s a little too early in the season to break the Dukies’ hearts,” Toliver said with a smile.

Toliver scored all 12 of her points in the second half of her final visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium. The ACC’s preseason player of the year entered averaging a team-best 17 points but finished just 5-for-16 after missing her first eight shots.

“It just wasn’t going down, but I think we found other ways to contribute,” Toliver said.

Maryland - which entered shooting a Division I-best 42 percent from 3-point range - got back in the game by shooting well from the outside. The Terrapins hit 3s on four straight possessions during a run that put them ahead for the only time after halftime.

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