Toliver and No. 3 Terps take down LSU

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -Last year the Maryland Terrapins women's basketball team could not come through in the big game. They lost to rivals North Carolina and Duke twice each, and failed to make any noise in the NCAA Tournament, losing to Ole Miss in the second round.

This season is already different story.

A week after defeating then-No. 6 Oklahoma, the No. 3 Terps (5-0) earned another definitive early-season win, pummeling the No. 4 LSU Lady Tigers 75-63, en route to capturing the Pre-Season WNIT championship at Comcast Center.

"Just a special win for us," Terrapins head coach Brenda Frese said. "We talked about having twice as much fun, and I thought we worked twice as hard in this game. I'm just so proud of the champions we have in this locker room."

Maryland junior point guard Kristi Toliver scored 23 points, dished out seven assists, and garnered tournament MVP honors. She scored 25 points Friday night in a win against Notre Dame which got the Terps to the championship game.

"I thought I was in a WNBA game for a while, the way [Toliver] just kept pulling up and making shots," said LSU head coach Van Chancellor, who won four WNBA titles with the Houston Comets. "I'm really impressed with her."

The Terrapins were without the services of All-American center Crystal Langhorne, but senior Jade Perry picked up the slack and gave fits to LSU's own All- American, Sylvia Fowles. After the game Frese called Perry "the strongest player in the country."

While Fowles scored her typical 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, she struggled to take over the game much to do with the way Perry battled her.

"It's just something different about their post players, putting the ball on the floor, finishing around the bucket or even stepping out from the block," Fowles said. "That's something I had to go up against tonight that was kind of different."

LSU stuck with the Terps throughout the first half, entering the locker room facing just a two-point deficit. The Lady Tigers gained the lead early in the second half, but a 16-1 Terrapin run created some separation. The Terps cruised through most of the second half with a double-digit lead, thanks in part to forward Laura Harper's 14 points after the break.

LSU was a bit out of their element all game. The Lady Tigers usually focus on getting the ball inside and scoring from the post, but instead, they jacked up 25 three-point field goals. Guard Quianna Chaney hit four of them, but took 12 attempts, and shot the ball a total of 22 times to score her 23 points.

Chancellor took the blame for the questionable style of play his team exhibited.

"I promise you this much, you put this one in the bank, we're going to get a lot better," Chancellor said. "LSU right now is poorly, poorly coached."

The veteran coach also had his own predictions about Maryland.

"This team is capable of winning a national championship or playing for one if they keep playing like this," he said. "They were pretty good today."

Meanwhile, LSU has a lot of work to do if it wants to reach its fifth straight Final Four.

They were exposed by Maryland and the talented point guard Toliver whose coach called her "Agent Two-zero" after the game, referencing Toliver's number 20 jersey and her similarity of play to Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas.

"So far we've been pretty consistent," Toliver said. "The only team that can beat us is ourselves, and we're just going out there and playing hard every game."

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