March 24, 2009

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -With help from their Maryland teammates and a spirited crowd, Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver enthusiastically celebrated one final victory on their home court.

Coleman had 18 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, Toliver scored 17, and top-seed Maryland advanced to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament with a 71-56 victory over Utah on Tuesday night.

The Terrapins (30-4) will next play Vanderbilt (26-8) in the semifinals of the Raleigh Regional. Maryland beat the Commodores 80-66 last year in the third round.

Utah (23-10) probably would have had trouble defeating the Terrapins under any circumstances. But the Utes had to play in an arena where Maryland had won 35 straight and before 10,065 fans intent upon seeing Toliver and Coleman shine in their last home game.

The two seniors did their part, finishing with a 65-3 record at home.

Coleman and Toliver left to a standing ovation with 2:38 left and Maryland up 71-51. Upon reaching the bench, they received a warm hug from coach Brenda Frese.

This, however, was more than a two-woman show. Forward Demauria Liles had 12 points and 17 rebounds, and Lynette Kizer and Marah Strickland each scored eight.

Kalee Whipple scored 24 and Morgan Warburton had 17 for No. 9 seed Utah (23-10). The Utes, who advanced with a 60-30 rout of Villanova, couldn't come up with a similar defensive performance against the more talented Terrapins.

Maryland outrebounded Utah 54-24; the Utes had been outrebounded in only five games all season and ranked 12th in the country in rebound margin.

Coleman had more rebounds at halftime (12) than Utah (9). Although Maryland trailed by seven with just over 5 minutes elapsed, the Terrapins bounced back to go up 44-28 at the break.

The Utes never threatened to make a game of it in the second half.

In Maryland's opening 82-53 win over Dartmouth, the Terrapins scored the game's first eight points and never trailed. Utah got the early jump in this one, getting points from four different players and using 6-for-9 shooting to take a 15-8 lead.

Liles then made two straight layups and Strickland sank a reverse layup off a no-look pass from Toliver to spark a 14-3 run that put the Terrapins up 22-18. Coleman hit three straight jumpers during the surge, and on the other end Utah missed eight of nine shots.

The lead swelled to 28-20, and after the Utes cut the margin in half, Toliver hit a jumper before layups by Strickland, Liles and Coleman started Maryland on a 12-0 run to end the half.