Maryland breezes past Princeton in WNIT

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Knowing it would be foolish to try to run with No. 4 Maryland, Princeton attempted to put the brakes on the Terrapins' potent fast break.

"We were going to try to out-slow Maryland," coach Courtney Banghart said. "We felt like it would be Maryland on roller-blades and Princeton in sneakers."

The problem with the strategy was that the Tigers couldn't neutralize guard Kristi Toliver, who had 16 points and 10 assists to lead Maryland to a 76-52 victory Friday night in the Preseason WNIT.

"Kristi Toliver is tough," Banghart said. "Our game plan was to challenge her shots and hope she doesn't make them."

Toliver went 7-for-10 from the floor and accounted for more than half of Maryland's 19 assists.

"She did a great job of being aggressive and attacking," Terrapins coach Brenda Frese said. "Especially in the second half, there were just a lot of great unselfish plays that she made for us."

In the season opener for both teams, the Terrapins never trailed. Maryland led by 10 at halftime, opened the second half with a 9-3 run to go up 48-32 and coasted to the finish.

Jade Perry had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Marissa Coleman and Laura Harper also had 12 points apiece for the Terrapins.

"Maryland is very experienced, very athletic, very versatile team," Banghart said.

Whitney Downs scored 16 points for the Tigers and Meagan Cowher, the daughter of former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher, scored 11 of her 13 points in the first half. Bill Cowher watched in the stands about 15 rows behind the Princeton bench.

Maryland won the 2005 national championship and entered last season as No. 1, but the Terrapins didn't get past the second round of last season's NCAA tournament. Eager for redemption, Maryland got off to a solid start despite playing without standout center Crystal Langhorne, who has a sprained ankle.

"We're excited to start a new chapter," Toliver said.

Toliver scored 12 points in the first half, and Maryland limited the Tigers to 37 percent shooting in taking a 39-29 lead.

The Terps led 12-11 before Toliver scored on a drive and fed Ashleigh Newman for a basket, igniting a 19-8 run. After Princeton closed to 36-29, Toliver hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

"That's obviously a backbreaker," Banghart said.

Maryland expanded the margin in the second half, but a 3-pointer by Downs made it 54-40. Coleman answered with a 3-pointer and Harper scored in the lane for a 19-point cushion.