Maryland Set For Rematch With Ole Miss
The Rebels have newfound confidence after beating 10th-seeded TCU
March 19, 2007
(AP) - Maryland has been one of the best teams in the NCAA tournament under coach Brenda Frese, so it seemed unlikely she would make any major changes going in. That, however, is exactly what Frese did in the opening round when she benched standout guard Kristi Toliver.
The move worked, and helped earn the second-seeded Terrapins (28-5) a rematch with No. 7 seed Mississippi on Tuesday in the second round in Hartford, Conn.
Toliver hit a 3-pointer in last season's national championship game against Duke to send it to overtime, and the Terps went on to win 78-75 for their first title. The sophomore guard, who averaged 14.0 points during that championship run, had started every game this season, but Frese thought Toliver was pushing herself too hard recently and didn't have her in the starting five Sunday.
Toliver responded by scoring 13 points, including a key 3-pointer to spark a 19-5 first-half run, and added nine assists in an 89-65 victory over Harvard.
"Kristi has been putting too much pressure on herself," said Frese, who will use Toliver as a reserve again Tuesday. "She's a tremendous team player and I'm extremely proud of her."
Maryland is 9-2 in the NCAAs under Frese, including seven wins in a row. The Terps have also won 31 straight non-conference games.
Much of their success is due to a balanced attack that has five players averaging double figures in points, including Shay Doron, who had 21 on Sunday. The senior guard set school records with her 118th career start and 11th appearance in an NCAA tourney game.
Leading scorer Crystal Langhorne had 12 points and nine rebounds, while Marissa Coleman recorded 10 points and nine boards as Maryland shot 50.7 percent from the field.
The Terps had an ever better offensive showing in their only meeting with Mississippi on Nov. 25, when they shot 58.7 percent en route to a 110-79 victory in the final of the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas.
Doron scored 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting and added seven assists, six rebounds and four steals.
"It gives us some confidence, but we played them a long time ago," Langhorne, who has scored in double figures in all nine of her NCAA games, said of beating the Rebels in November. "Ole Miss is a better team and we have to be prepared."
The Rebels (22-10) have newfound confidence after beating 10th-seeded TCU 88-74 in the first round Sunday. It was their first win in the NCAAs since 1994 and their highest-scoring game ever in the tournament.
Ole Miss is now trying to advance to the round of 16 for the first time since 1992 after failing to make the tournament last season.
"I am trying to just have great expectations," said Rebels senior guard Armintie Price, who leads the team in points (18.2), rebounds (9.0) and assists (4.8) per game. "Trying to go for it and keep our heads up through adversity. Obviously, we had some last year, but this year the seniors ... are making sure it won't happen again by keeping a winning mindset."
The SEC defensive player of the year finished with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting and added seven rebounds, six assists and three steals. Ole Miss employed a full-court press and grabbed 12 steals while scoring 39 points off 23 turnovers.
"Defensively we scrap around and we try to make plays," Rebels coach Carol Ross said. "We're not very big, but we're quick so we rebound the ball quickly and we force turnovers."