Maryland 89, Harvard 65

Sunday, March 18th 2007, 4:45 pm
By: News On 6

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Maryland coach Brenda Frese thought Kristi Toliver was trying too hard. So the coach decided to have her star guard come off the bench for the first time this season _ and it worked.

Toliver scored 13 points and added nine assists to help second-seeded Maryland beat No. 15 Harvard 89-65 on Sunday in the first round of the Dayton Regional.

``Kristi has been putting too much pressure on herself,'' Frese said. ``She's a tremendous team player and I'm extremely proud of her.''

Toliver averaged 14 points in the NCAA tournament last season and hit the 3-pointer that sent the national championship game against Duke into overtime.

The sophomore guard entered 3:41 into this game with the score tied and immediately sparked Maryland (28-5), starting a 19-5 run on a 3-pointer that put the Terrapins ahead 28-14.

``I'm willing to accept any role that I'm given,'' Toliver said. ``I'm just trying to play for my teammates and get wins and do whatever I have to do. I'm the same person, I'm the same player I was before, I'm just coming about four minutes later.''

Harvard (15-13) closed within seven, but Toliver and Maryland answered by ending the half with a 10-4 spurt to lead 38-25.

The Terps started the second half with a 16-5 burst to put the game away. Shay Doron, who led Maryland with 21 points, closed the run with the final nine points.

Frese doesn't plan on changing the lineup when Maryland faces Mississippi on Tuesday.

The Rebels, who lost to Maryland 110-79 on Nov. 25, beat TCU 88-74 in the opener at Hartford Civic Center.

``It gives us some confidence, but we played them a long time ago,'' said Crystal Langhorne, who had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Terrapins. ``Ole Miss is a better team and we have to be prepared.''

Emily Tay scored 16 points and Christiana Lackner added 14 to lead the Crimson, whose 12-game winning streak ended.

Harvard was hoping to pull off another stunning NCAA tournament upset, having beaten Stanford 71-67 in 1998 as a No. 16 seed.

Coach Kathy Delaney-Smith pulled out the tape of that game on Saturday to show her team.

``The Stanford win is a huge part of our history,'' said Harvard guard Lindsay Hallion. ``It's a source of inspiration for us and most underdogs.''

The Crimson are the only team seeded 14th or lower to prevail in the first round.

``The stars had to be aligned a little more closely for us to knock off the defending champions,'' said Harvard coach Kathy Delaney-Smith.

Dayton was expected to be the toughest region with Maryland, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Ohio State.

``We don't whine, we shine,'' Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. ``We're all about not looking at the negative. We want to look at what the positives are, and if people deem this as the toughest bracket you've got to get through, more power to the team that is able to get through it.''

The Buckeyes were upset Saturday night by Marist. The Terps have won 31 straight nonconference games and weren't about to let that happen to them.

Toliver was replaced in the starting lineup by Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood. She had four points, all on free throws.

Wiley-Gatewood had transferred from Tennessee and sat out last season's national championship run. She was injured her freshman year for the Lady Vols and was seeing her first tournament action.

She finished with four points and four rebounds.