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Maryland top Purdue women

Thursday, December 4, 2008

By CLIFF BRUNT

AP Sports Writer

WEST LAFAYETTE -- A horrid first half didn't stop Kristi Toliver from taking difficult fadeaway shots or delivering nasty crossover moves in the second.

Toliver's teammates wouldn't allow their leader to change her game. Toliver scored 22 of her 24 points in the second half, helping No. 8 Maryland beat No. 17 Purdue 70-59 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Thursday night.

"My teammates kept telling me to shoot the ball, and I was just shooting every shot like the next one was going in," Toliver said.

Toliver, who shot 0-for-5 from the field in the first half, went 5-for-10 in the second and made all 10 of her free throws after the break.

"Kristi Toliver is Kristi Toliver," Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said. "She's an amazing player, we respect her quite a bit. First half, we frustrated her, second half, she took over."

Marah Strickland and Marissa Coleman each scored 16 points for the Terrapins (7-1), who have won seven straight.

Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton led Purdue with 20 points, nine rebounds, four steals and three blocks. Lakisha Freeman scored 15 points and Danielle Campbell added 11 for the Boilermakers (5-2).

Toliver and Coleman, Maryland's top two scorers, shot a combined 12-for-38 from the field in the game, but made enough plays to give Maryland the win. Toliver had seven rebounds and six assists, and Coleman had 12 rebounds and three steals, despite shooting 7-for-23 from the field.

"That's what big-time, special players do," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "They played with so much poise, so much confidence and that energy really fed off for all their teammates."

Maryland didn't look so special in the first half, when they shot a combined 2-for-19.

"Credit their defense," Frese said. "I thought they did a great job locking really down our guard play in the first half, when we were struggling with our guard play."

Purdue made six of seven shots to start the second half and took a 40-35 lead.

Maryland recovered, and Toliver's pull-up 3-pointer, then her two free throws on Maryland's next possession gave the Terrapins a 59-52 lead with just under four minutes to play.

"We had an aggressive mentality, something that we kind of went away from in the first half after we had that big lead," Toliver said. "I think we played extremely composed down the stretch, stayed confident."

Purdue couldn't say the same. The Boilermakers built their lead by running their offense through Wisdom-Hylton, but they forgot about her for long stretches in the second half. Purdue led 44-37 with 13 minutes to play, but missed 18 of its next 21 shots, including 10 in a row at one point.

"We were still supposed to have gotten it to the paint," Versyp said. "Didn't do it."

Maryland ran out to a 9-0 lead and held Purdue scoreless for the first four minutes of the game.

Purdue chipped away for the next 12 minutes. A steal by Wisdom-Hylton led to a fast-break layup by Freeman, then Freeman made a baseline jumper that tied the game at 23 with 4:10 left in the first half.

Campbell scored on a putback and was fouled with 52 seconds left in the half. The 3-point play gave Purdue a 28-25 lead, its first advantage of the game, and that score stood until halftime.

Maryland shot 52 percent in the second half to take over.

Purdue's other loss was to No. 4 Stanford at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Classic in overtime. The fact that the losses were against Top 10 teams didn't make the loss easier for Versyp to accept.

"It doesn't matter if you're close," she said. "We need to finish the game off. If they're two Top 10 teams in the country, we're not far away, but then again, it doesn't matter if you're close."



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