2:00 PM ET, December 10, 2006
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Maryland had been in this situation before -- down late on the road.With all five starters returning from last season's team that won the national championship, the Terrapins didn't fold.Kristi Toliver scored six points during a decisive closing run to help the top-ranked Terps hold off the pesky Temple Owls 77-66 on Sunday afternoon."We knew we had been in these situations before," said Maryland center Crystal Langhorne, who scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half. "With all our players returning, we are very experienced and have an advantage down the stretch."Trailing 57-44 with 9:36 left in the second half, Temple went on an 18-1 run to take a 62-58 lead with 5:38 left. Kamesha Hairston scored 10 points during the spurt."We can walk away with our heads up high and know that we put up such a good fight," said Temple coach Dawn Staley.Maryland (12-0) responded by scoring the next 13 points, with Toliver hitting consecutive jumpers and two free throws to give the Terps a 65-62 lead with 3:34 left. The Terps held the Owls scoreless until Shenita Landry's layup with 43.8 seconds left, when the game was out of reach."Poise was the biggest thing," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "We knew they would make a run, we just had to value the ball."Marissa Coleman scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Maryland. Laura Harper led the Terps with 17 points. Shay Doron added 11 and Toliver finished with 10 points and eight assists.All five Maryland starters have been averaging in double figures all season long.Hairston scored 28 points and Fatima Maddox added 22 for the Owls (4-4)."They played like seniors," Staley said of her top two scorers. "They'll make mistakes, but they always are there for us."Maryland has won 18 straight games, with its last loss coming to North Carolina in the championship game of last season's ACC tournament.The Terps were sluggish in the first half, settling for jump shots. They held a 28-18 lead with 3:56 left before Maddox scored eight points to close the gap to 30-28 at the half."We just needed a stop," Maddox said. "My offense just came."The Terps opened the second half with a 15-4 run, extending a two-point halftime lead to 45-32 with 16:15 left in the game. Langhorne scored nine of her points during that spurt as the Terps constantly pounded the ball inside."We didn't have enough post touches in the first half," Frese said. "We were more patient in the second half getting the ball inside."The Owls were without Lady Comfort, who scored a career-high 25 points in Temple's 72-58 win over Stony Brook on Wednesday night. She was suspended for Saturday's game by Staley for violating team rules."She broke a team rule and it was discussed last night with the team captains and then I made an executive decision," Staley said.Maryland is off to its best start since winning its first 16 games of the 1982-83 season. The top-ranked team will be off for the next 10 days on exam break. The Terps will next play Dec. 21 at Loyola, Md."We didn't want to lose with our next game in 11 days. It would stink if we had lost," Harper said.
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