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Toliver's 3 gives Terps huge win

February 02, 2009|By BRENT KALLESTAD

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Kristi Toliver made every key play down the stretch to help Maryland hand Florida State its first conference loss.

In the final 25 seconds, Toliver had a steal, two free throws and a desperation 3-pointer as the final buzzer sounded to lead No. 13 Maryland to a 72-71 win Monday night over 15th-ranked Florida State, which had won nine straight and was the lone unbeaten team in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

"That was better than the Super Bowl last night, the way the game went down to the wire," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "We love those kind of battles. Fortunately it went our way down the stretch."

After streaking upcourt with the dribble, Toliver let the game-winner fly from the right of the circle and officials huddled around the television monitor at the scorers table briefly to confirm the shot beat the final horn.

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"I thought we defended her as well as we could in transition," Florida State coach Sue Semrau said. "She hit a really tough shot."

Although Toliver knew she would take the shot, she started to slip and nearly fell as she let it go.

"I didn't know I was going to be falling and shooting at the same time," Toliver said. "I just threw it up. Thank the Lord it went in."

Toliver's basket was similar to a last-second 3-pointer she made her freshman year in the 2006 NCAA title game against Duke that sent that contest into overtime. Maryland won the game and title.

Florida State (18-5, 6-1) led by four, 69-65 with 1:08 left, and regained the lead at 71-69 with 4.9 seconds to go on freshman Cierra Bravard's putback with an offensive rebound.

Toliver led the Terrapins (17-4, 5-2) with 17 points to go along with a game-high seven assists. Lynetta Kizer added 14 points and eight rebounds before she fouled out with 1:38 left and Marissa Coleman finished with 13.

Tanae Davis-Cain scored 19 points for Florida State, which led 69-65 with 1:08 left after Bravard made the front end of a one-and-one.

Jacinta Monroe added 14 points and 9 rebounds for the Seminoles, who had not lost since a 83-71 defeat to top-ranked UConn on Dec. 21.

"We're not going to change anything we do because of one last-second shot," said Florida State's Mara Freshour, who had 11 points. "That's not going to keep us down for the ACC, the ACC tournament or the NCAA tournament. We're going to keep going."

The game was back and forth with 14 ties and 14 lead changes and no team leading by more than five points.

Both teams shot well from behind the arc in a seesaw first half with Florida State making 7-of-13 3-pointers while Maryland was 5-for-9. Both cooled down from the outside in the second half.

The loss left the Seminoles tied with Duke for first place in the ACC. The Blue Devils defeated Boston College on Monday.

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