Toliver's Buzzer-Beater Sends Maryland Past Florida State, 72-71
Feb. 2, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-- Kristi Toliver has been winning big games for the Maryland women's basketball team for four years. On Monday, in a game the Terrapins likely had to win to maintain hopes of a regular season ACC title, Toliver added another memorable moment to a career already littered with them when her buzzer-beating three-pointer gave Maryland a 72-71 victory over Florida State, which came into the contest with an unblemished conference record.
Toliver scored the last five points for Maryland, tying the score at 69 with two free throws after Marissa Coleman nabbed a steal just across half court and found a streaking Toliver. Then, after Cierra Bravard's layup gave the Seminoles a two-point lead with 4.5 seconds to play, Toliver drove down the court to the right elbow, crossing over her defender and knocking down the trey as time expired.
"That game was better than the Super Bowl," head coach Brenda Frese said. "It came down to the wire. We love those kinds of battles. We're fortunate things went our way down the stretch. FSU is very tough at home. They played very physical and they believed. We believed until the final horn."
Toliver and fellow senior Marissa Coleman led the Terps (17-4, 5-2) with 15 points each. Tanae Davis-Cain topped Florida State (18-5, 6-1) with 19 points.
The game was tense throughout. Each team claimed five-point leads during the first half, but that was as big a margin as existed throughout the contest. The Seminoles took a one-point lead just before the final buzzer sounded. Lynetta Kizer led the Terps in the opening period with 10 points and six rebounds. Toliver added eight before halftime.
Nothing changed after intermission, as the two teams battled back and forth. Florida State opened the half hot, going up four, but as always, Maryland battled back.
With a loud crowd of 2,885 at their backs, the Seminoles' defense prevented Maryland from gaining an edge even as the Terps pushed the issue. With Florida State up 62-61, though, redshirt-freshman Anjalé Barrett saw an opening and drove straight down the lane after bringing the ball upcourt, finishing the play to give Maryland a one-point lead.
After the Seminoles hit a three-pointer to give themselves a two-point lead, Coleman calmly hit a fadeaway eight-footer to tie the score with 2:29 to go.
When Bravard hit one of two free throws with 1:08 to play, Florida State extended its lead to 69-65. Then, it was time for the seniors to finish the deal for the Terps.
First, Coleman freed herself underneath the basket, putting it up and in to pull Maryland within two. Then, after Florida State called a timeout with 27 seconds to go, Coleman stripped Courtney Ward and found a streaking Toliver, who was fouled and converted both freebies to tie the score.
Bravard's layup put the Donald Tucker Civic Center crowd into a frenzy, but that was not nearly enough to rattle the veteran Toliver.
"I went down the length of the floor...I just threw it up and thanked the Lord it went in."
For four years, Maryland fans have been just as thankful that Toliver has been winning games for the Terps.