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Lady Terps Advance to Elite Eight

JOEDY McCREARY | 3/29/2009, 3:04 p.m.

Coleman's 42 lead Terps past Vandy 78

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Marissa Coleman wanted more, so she did more.

The Maryland senior scored a career-high 42 points, including the go-ahead basket with 27.9 seconds left, as the Terrapins rallied from 18 down to beat Vanderbilt 78-74 on Saturday.

The No. 1 seed in the Raleigh Regional used a late 15-3 run to erase an 11-point deficit and didn't lead until Demauria Liles hit a layup with 2:07 left.

Coleman - who surpassed her previous best of 32 points set a month ago against Boston College - nearly had to beat the Commodores by herself. She finished 15-for-27 from the field, made 10-of-11 free throws, had 15 rebounds and had the ball in her hands on virtually every important possession.

Christina Wirth scored a career-high 28 points to lead No. 4 seed Vanderbilt (26-9). Her free throws with 42.4 seconds left made it 74-all.
Coleman then put Maryland (31-4) ahead to stay on their next trip downcourt with a fallaway jumper over Jence Rhoads.

After Wirth's jumper over Kristi Toliver rimmed out with about 12 seconds left, Coleman hit two free throws with 9.6 seconds remaining to clinch the Terps' third trip to the regional finals in four seasons.

Toliver finished with 17 points for the Terrapins, who will play No. 3 seed Louisville on Monday night for a spot in the Final Four.

Toliver struggled with foul trouble all day and was just 7-for-16, and no other Terrapins scored more than six points. Atlantic Coast Conference freshman of the year Lynetta Kizer was just 3-for-11 shooting.

Still, it was enough to beat Vanderbilt in the round of 16 for the second straight year. Maryland beat the Commodores 80-66 in the third round of last year's tournament.

Rhoads had 14 points and Jennifer Risper scored 13 for the Commodores. Merideth Marsh added 12, and her two free throws with 6:59 remaining put Vanderbilt up 68-57, before the Terrapins came on down the stretch to keep Vandy winless in the regional semifinals under coach Melanie Balcomb. The Commodores haven't reached the round of eight since Jim Foster led them there in 2002.

Early on, at least, it looked as though Vanderbilt would sail into the next round.

The Commodores outworked the Terrapins on both ends of the court and spent much of the first half up by double digits, opening the game with a 12-2 run and methodically stretching their lead to 33-15 on Marsh's 3-pointer from the corner with about 6 minutes left.

Coleman almost single-handedly brought the Terps back from their deep early deficit, scoring 12 points during Maryland's 21-6 half-closing run. Seconds after Vandy pushed its lead to 18, Coleman drew contact from Risper while knocking down a jumper - then let out her frustrations with an impassioned scream.

Then, she took over. She completed that three-point play, added a layup off Toliver's pretty feed and made five free throws before hitting a pullup jumper over Lauren Lueders that capped the big run and made it 39-36 at the break.