Maryland Women Too Much for N.C. State in 87-66 Win

Maryland's Lynetta Kizer (12) works the ball around North Carolina State's Tia Bell for an assist in the first half. The No. 13 Terrapins shot 70.4 percent in the first half.
Maryland's Lynetta Kizer (12) works the ball around North Carolina State's Tia Bell for an assist in the first half. The No. 13 Terrapins shot 70.4 percent in the first half. (By Preston Keres -- The Washington Post)
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By Camille Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 6, 2009

There were plenty of smiles on the Maryland bench last night following the 13th-ranked Terrapins' 87-66 victory over visiting North Carolina State.

The Terrapins (18-4, 6-2 ACC) shot 56.7 percent, including 55.6 percent from three-point range -- their highest percentages in conference play. They held the Wolfpack to 37.7 percent shooting. And one of their popular former teammates -- center Laura Harper, now with the WNBA's Sacramento Monarchs -- had her jersey retired in a postgame ceremony.

But Coach Brenda Frese had some bad news following the team's unsatisfactory 9-of-16 performance (56.3 percent) from the free throw line.

"There will be some extra cardio on Saturday, to understand that we've got to step up and make free throws," said Frese, whose team travels to Boston College on Monday. "We're going to have to make them in critical situations when games come down to one possession, like Florida State."

She was referring to Monday's game, in which the Terrapins won, 72-71, on senior Kristi Toliver's buzzer-beating three-pointer.

Nine of Maryland's 10 players scored last night in front of 6,291 at Comcast Center, and five reached double figures, led by Toliver's 15 points and sophomore Drey Mingo's season-high 13 points. Senior forward Marissa Coleman scored 14 points, moving past Shay Doron (1,878) into third place on Maryland's career scoring list. She has 1,880 points and needs 49 more to move past Vicky Bullett into second.

N.C. State -- whose players and coaches have endured so much since Jan. 24, when their longtime coach, Kay Yow, passed away following a long battle with breast cancer -- suffered its most lopsided loss this season. The Wolfpack (9-13, 1-6) took No. 4 Duke and No. 8 North Carolina to overtime last month and came in ranked third in the ACC in field goal percentage defense, but was overwhelmed by Maryland from the start.

The Terrapins led, 48-32, at halftime after shooting 70.4 percent -- their best performance of any half this season. Maryland converted 19 of 27 shots, including 5 of 9 from three-point range. Seven players attempted a shot, and all seven made at least one.

"We were changing defenses, and we were actually trying to give them different looks," N.C. State interim coach Stephanie Glance said. "I'm not sure they shoot 70 percent in their drills in practice, with no defense. They're a very talented team, but they were shooting the ball exceptionally well [from] all places on the floor."

Indeed, Maryland opened the game with its two post players -- junior Dee Liles (13 points, 11 rebounds) and freshman Lynetta Kizer (12 points) -- sinking long jump shots. Then Toliver took over, hitting four shots from beyond the arc in a five-minute span. She made 5 of 6 three-pointers for the game.

With 11 minutes 9 seconds left in the first half, Mingo scored off of an offensive rebound to give Maryland a 24-13 lead. Over the next 6:32, the Terrapins did not miss a shot from the field; they made eight in a row to open up a 42-24 advantage. Liles scored seven points during that run, twice converting open layups off of nice feeds from Coleman and Kizer.

"It's definitely a feeling," said Coleman, who had four assists. "In the first half, we weren't missing too many shots, so I think whoever got the ball, whoever had the open shot, we had confidence that it was going to go in."

On a night when so many things went right, there was one last glitch. During the ceremony to honor Harper, the program's career leader in blocked shots and the 2006 Final Four most outstanding player, the banner didn't unfurl properly and her jersey number -- 15 -- was obscured.

"We'll take care of that," Frese told the crowd.

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