#4: Terps Top Duke to Take ACC Crown
Aug. 13, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - They won an NCAA title, went to a Final Four and numerous Elite Eights, and had won an ACC regular season title, but the fantastic careers of Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver had one thing missing - an ACC title.
In their four years and head coach Brenda Frese's seven, they hadn't danced in the confetti and balloons in Greensboro. It took a few close games, stellar play and five extra minutes of overtime, but Frese, Toliver, Coleman and the Terps got their ACC ring with a 92-89 win over Duke on March 8, 2009.
The game was close throughout with 11 ties and 10 lead changes. Coleman added 28 points and 15 rebounds, while Toliver had 24 points. Redshirt freshman Kim Rodgers came off the bench to add 12 points. The top-seeded Terps battled the entire length of regulation, only to have Duke's Chante Black tip in a shot at the buzzer of regulation time to tie it at 81 apiece.
"It was kind of fitting that Duke stood in the way of us getting our first ACC championship, because from the time I got hired at Maryland, they were the rabbit we were chasing," Frese said. "We led most of the game, but they caught us at the end of regulation on an amazing follow-shot by Chante Black. It was almost like they were turning the tables on us for what we did to them in the 2006 national championship game."
"The first thing I did when Duke tied it and sent it to overtime was find Kristi Toliver. She had been battling a cold or virus all weekend. I knew she was exhausted. I saw the look on her face and I had to get to her immediately and build her up for the five minutes of overtime. I had to make her believe that somewhere deep down she had fuel left in her tank.
Coleman and Toliver kicked it into another gear to score nine of Maryland's 11 overtime points to clinch the win. Toliver had been named ACC Player of the Year earlier in the week and Coleman was named MVP after her heroic performance.
"I remember cutting down the nets and making sure we gave them to Marissa and Kristi. Those two carried us the entire season and we needed incredible production from both to have a chance. On Thursday of that week, Kristi received ACC Player of the Year for the regular season. So I think the competitor in Marissa propelled her to an incredible weekend in which she took home ACC Tournament MVP. She hit a big-time three in overtime that put us ahead for good."
Rodgers, who had spent the season returning from a knee injury, stepped up and hit two clutch free throws in the final seconds of overtime to clinch the win.
"It was a memorable weekend for Kim Rodgers, who struggled all season coming off rehab of her reconstructed knee," Frese said. "She found some magic over those three games and hit shots none of us had a right to expect. She hit two clutch free throws in overtime that were pressure shots."
"For me as a coach, winning my first ACC Tournament title was kind of funny in the sense that we got a national title before we got an ACC title. Most people don't do it in that order, but that's just the way that it worked out. We had to go through UNC and Duke on consecutive days to get it, so we really had to knock off the ACC establishment to get the prize."
"I was most happy for our team and fans to have that experience. I can't say enough how incredible our Maryland fans are- especially on the weekend of the ACC Tournament. We're playing in Greensboro and they make them feel like home games."