Maryland Claims First ACC Title In Twenty Years
Marissa Coleman is the absolute star of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
She was her usual aggressive self today in the Terrapins’ season finale against the Miami Hurricanes.
No. 5 Maryland (25-4, 12-2 ACC) won their last game of the season in another rout of an inferior conference opponent.
Miami (13-16, 2-12) was overwhelmed by the furious pace that Maryland ran, and were defeated 89-64 before a paltry home crowd.
Too bad the Comcast Center crazies could not witness in person this significant moment in Terps history.
Five different players scored in double figures as the Terrapins earned their first ACC title in twenty years.
As if this achievement was not enough, Maryland heads into the ACC tournament winners of nine straight games.
Coleman led the Terrapin attack with 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
She brought her “A” defensive game as well by grabbing 16 rebounds.
Guard Marah Strickland wore her best Kristi Toliver hat, and added 17 points of her own.
She finished the game 6-of-16 shooting.
Coleman and Toliver have been the catalysts all season for Maryland’s efficient offensive scheme.
As Toliver noted several games ago, “Marissa knows when to make her cuts, and I know when to dish the ball inside.”
I know I will miss watching the chemistry these two displayed, as if it were child’s play.
Many times on the court Kristi Toliver would be smiling like a Cheshire cat, almost toying with the opposing defense to make a run at her.
When a guard committed to man-to-man coverage, she would shimmy away from her defender so easily.
She was gone.
She has the nastiest cross over dribble that stops girls in their tracks.
Her skills are without comparison.
Maryland coach Brenda Frese shared her thoughts on why she thinks her team is experiencing so much success.
“Obviously just a special win for us,” Frese said.
“So proud of this team. With this win, being ACC champions, and like I told them, the chance, the opportunity to leave their legacy and leave their mark and win their first title in 20 years.”
“We did it together, we did it as a team.”
I am positive Maryland is the No. 1 team on the top-ranked Connecticut Huskies’ watch list for a possible NCAA showdown.
Toliver, despite her bottomless talent, scored just 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting.
She did dish out six assists to her credit.
Avid Maryland homers like yours truly, knows she is great at getting her other teammates involved in the action as well if need be.
Freshman center Lynetta Kizer finished her first full season in a Terps uniform averaging 13.1 points per game.
Today she had 10 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
Anjale Barrett scored 10 points respectively to round out the five players who scored at least ten points in the game.
Maryland took a commanding lead after they went on a 16-3 run, over a 4:40 stretch of the first half.
Miami’s Riquna Williams and Lamese James added 17 points and 16 points to lead their team.
James was playing in her final game in a Hurricanes uniform.
Epiphany Williams scored 10 points, but provided little help defensively.
Maryland outrebounded Miami 52-35.
“They’re such a good team,” said James. “You can’t give them any daylight.”
Maryland never trailed in the game, and Miami never got within fourteen points of the lead, after the Terps’ initial run.
Strickland sealed Miami’s fate after sinking a three-pointer to cap a 13-2 run with 11:36 left in the game.
Maryland led 68-43, and knew it was time to celebrate.
Miami is 1-8 all-time versus Maryland.
Miami will play their first ACC tournament game against Boston College on Thursday.
Maryland has a bye into Friday’s quarterfinal round, and will meet either North Carolina State or Wake Forest.
Maryland is the No. 1 seed in the ACC tournament by virtue of a tie-breaker they hold with the Florida State Seminoles. (24-6, 12-2 ACC)
Maryland eked out a 72-71 win in Tallahassee to give them the top seed.
The No. 1 seeded team has won the ACC title seven times in the past eight years.
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