Terps use late run to hold off Middle Tennessee

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Despite playing with a stomach virus, Kristi Toliver was able to help Maryland hold off Middle Tennessee's upset bid.

Toliver, who was so sick she couldn't make it through the postgame press conference, scored 19 points and started a late 11-0 run to help the Terrapins (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 3 AP) to a 74-69 victory over the Blue Raiders on Wednesday night.

"She's the best point guard in the country," Middle Tennessee coach Rick Insell of Toliver. "You've got people around the country talking about this one and that one, and I won't mention any names, but I'm telling you right now the best point guard in the country was out there on that floor tonight."

The Terrapins (11-1), who suffered their first loss of the season Monday at Rutgers, were sluggish throughout, unable to pull away from a Blue Raiders team that had lost consecutive games to Southern Conference opponents.

Amber Holt banked in a jumper with five minutes remaining to give Middle Tennessee (3-4) a 61-60 lead. However, Maryland went on an 11-0 run, sparked by seven points from Toliver, to move ahead 72-62.

Middle Tennessee fought back with a 7-0 run aided by two Terrapins turnovers to pull within three. After another Maryland turnover, Chelsia Lymon made a layup that would've cut the Blue Raiders' deficit to 72-71 but was called for a charge, eliminating the bucket.

Toliver made a pair of free throws on the Terps' ensuing possession, ending any chance of an upset.

"We did everything to try to defend them the best could," Terps assistant coach Daron Park said. "Credit our upperclassman for understanding how much effort it takes sometimes to win a college basketball game in less than ideal conditions. You are facing adversity and things don't seem to be going your way and you dig deeper. I felt like we did that tonight. Our effort down the stretch was sensational."

Park was filling in for Maryland coach Brenda Frese, who is pregnant with twins and wasn't on the bench because of an illness that swept through the team. The game was the third Frese has missed this season. She didn't travel with the team on a two-game West Coast trip on the advice of her obstetrician.

Laura Harper scored 16 points and Crystal Langhore made 7-of-8 shots and scored 14 points for Maryland.

Brandi Brown led Middle Tennessee with 22 points and made six of the team's 12 3-pointers. Holt finished with 18 points and Lymon scored 12. Middle Tennessee became the first team all season to outrebound Maryland with a 40-34 advantage on the boards.

Middle Tennessee made seven consecutive shots early in the second half, capped by Holt's layup that gave the Blue Raiders a 45-44 lead with 13:59 remaining. The Terrapins quickly regained the lead after consecutive baskets by Marissa Coleman and Harper, but the Blue Raiders refused to wilt.

Middle Tennessee, which put a scare into the Terps in an 80-76 loss last season, trailed just 35-29 at the half, using a barrage of 3s to stay close. Seven of the Blue Raiders' 10 first-half field goals were 3s.