No. 11 Maryland Beats No. 17 Virginia, 94-78, in Women's Basketball
Friday, February 13, 2009
As Marissa Coleman gingerly made her way off the court during the final minute of 11th-ranked Maryland's 94-78 victory over Virginia last night, the 7,053 fans inside Comcast Center rose to give the senior a standing ovation. She typified the Terrapins' gritty, focused effort against the 17th-ranked Cavaliers, and had the wounds to show for it: Her legs were cramping, and her knees were bloodied and wrapped with tape.
"That game actually felt like a heavyweight match, versus a basketball game," Maryland Coach Brenda Frese said afterward. "I just loved the toughness that we showed."
Coleman and fellow senior Kristi Toliver, as they often are, were the catalysts behind Maryland's fourth win over a ranked opponent this season. Coleman scored a season-high 28 points, and also had seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocked shots. She passed Vicky Bullett (1,928 points) to move into second place on the program's career scoring list, and now has 1,931 points and trails only Crystal Langhorne (2,247). Toliver added 25 points and five assists, becoming just the fourth player in ACC history to surpass 700 career assists (she has 704).
"Toliver and Coleman just had outstanding games," Virginia Coach Debbie Ryan said. "We didn't do much to defend them."
The Terrapins (20-4, 8-2), who host nonconference foe Rutgers (14-9) on Sunday, remain in second place in the ACC, one game in the loss column behind No. 14 Florida State (20-5, 8-1). Virginia (19-6, 5-4) dropped into a tie for fifth place with Georgia Tech (18-6, 5-4) and Boston College (17-7, 5-4). The top four teams receive first-round byes in the conference tournament, which begins on March 5 in Greensboro, N.C.
Virginia's 89-81 victory on Jan. 30 marked the first time that any of the current Terrapins had lost to their regional rival, but it was the way that they lost that really stung. Virginia overcame a 13-point second-half deficit by doing many of the things that Maryland prides itself on; the Cavaliers were tougher, faster and more aggressive. And they relied on essentially three players: Guard Monica Wright, forward Lyndra Littles and center Aisha Mohammed combined to score 77 points, including 52 of the team's final 56 points.
"We let one slip away [in Charlottesville]. We had that game," Coleman said. "Like Coach B says, sometimes we just go scatterbrained and go crazy. That's exactly what happened at U-Va. We talked about it: There was no way we were going to lose this game tonight. We were going to hustle after loose balls, we were going to do all the little things that lost us that game in Charlottesville."
The Terrapins were indeed tough. Coleman twice went flying into the courtside seats while chasing the ball; sophomore Marah Strickland (nine points) tumbled to the floor to wrest the ball away from Littles. Junior forward Dee Liles played 32 minutes despite having the flu, and had 12 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
Maryland, which varied its defenses, held Virginia to 38.7 percent shooting. Mohammed scored 18 points and added 17 rebounds, but Littles and Wright -- the top two scorers in ACC play -- were each held to their lowest output in conference play. Littles (Carroll), who had 30 points in the first meeting, scored 11 on 4-for-11 shooting, while Wright (Forest Park) had 14 on 5-for-18 shooting.
"Coach B challenged all of us with our defense, Dr. [Debbie] Yow [Maryland's athletic director] herself even challenged our defense," said Coleman, who shadowed Littles for much of the game. "We were really taking that to heart, and trying to limit her touches and definitely not let her go off and get 30 again."
Virginia led, 51-50, with 14 minutes 19 seconds remaining, but the Terrapins went on a 21-7 run. In the final minutes, the game was stopped twice so Coleman could get her knees taped. Some blood even got on her shorts, and she had to change out of them -- in full view of the arena.
"We could've had a malfunction. That could've went bad," said Coleman, when asked why her teammates didn't shield her from the crowd. "I'll have to talk to my teammates about that later."