- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Maryland women were rewarded for being the best team in the ACC with the No. 1 seed in the Raleigh region of this year’s NCAA tournament.

That means the Terrapins‘ road to the Final Four won’t be cover nearly as many miles as it did last year. As the top seed in the West region in 2008, Maryland had to trek to Spokane, Wash., after winning its first two games in College Park, where it eventually lost in the regional final to second-seeded Stanford.

The Terps (28-4) will again start out in College Park this year, Sunday against sixteenth-seeded Dartmouth, the Ivy League champions. But they have a much shorter 287-mile trip to Raleigh, N.C., for the regionals if they win two games at Comcast Center. Maryland’s last Final Four appearance was in 2006, when it won the national championship.

Entrenched in the rankings all season, there was little doubt Brenda Frese’s squad would qualify for the tournament. But it secured a top seed thanks to a torrid late-season run.

Maryland won its final nine games of the regular season to vault to the top of the ACC standings.

The top-seeded Terps then downed three North Carolina-based teams — Wake Forest, North Carolina and Duke — in Greensboro to win their first ACC tournament since 1989.

The late-season surge was spurred by seniors Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver, who have become one of the most dangerous tandems in the country. Toliver was named ACC player of the year and Coleman grabbed ACC tournament MVP.

Maryland’s last loss came to Virginia on Jan. 30 in Charlottesville.

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