When two players combine to score 58 points against Duke, what can they possibly do for an encore? Well, they can combine to score 59 points against Boston College! Yes, for awhile there this evening it seemed as though the Maryland underclassmen thought Senior Night meant that only the seniors, Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman, were allowed to score.
KT burst out of the gate, putting up 10 points in the first four minutes . . . four minutes! It took Marissa just a little longer -- about nine and a half minutes -- before hitting double figures herself. Slacker! (Just kidding.) And it wasn't until 6:53 left in the half, when someone texted the underclassman that they were allowed to score on Senior Night, that a Terp not wearing Number 20 or Number 25 got on the scoreboard. At that point, KT and Marissa, who had combined to score the Terps' first 30 points, were leading the Eagles by 10.
As expected, though, Boston College was a tough opponent, posing some difficult matchup problems from their two bigs, plus a not-unexpected hot hand from their outstanding guard, Mickel Picco. Despite trailing the entire game, the Eagles never gave up, even managing to narrow the margin to an uncomfortably close 3 points in the second half. But the Terps were not going to let anyone spoil Senior Night for Kristi and Marissa, and Maryland pulled ahead for the win, 86-74. Marissa led all scorers with 32 points (a career high!) and Kristi finished with 27. The win caps a second consecutive undefeated home season for the Terps. Absolutely Remarkable!!
Prior to the game, as part of the traditional Senior Night ritual, Kristi's and Marissa's families escorted them onto the floor to be recognized. But the main honor, and emotion, came after the game, as each of the Seniors returned again to the court to a highlight film on the jumbotron and a recitation by Coach B of each player's extraordinary accomplishments as a Terp. And when those long lists were completed, banners bearing Kristi's and Marissa's jersey numbers were dropped from the rafters, to thundering applause from the crowd of more than 11,000 who had come to honor these two extraordinary young women.
What an incredible four years it has been. It's possible we may never see any two players like this again. Both so talented. Both such big-game warriors. The school's first National Championship. Two years without losing at home. [And with tonight's victory. . . one win away from sharing a regular season ACC title.] "Special" doesn't begin to describe what these two players have meant to Maryland's fans and to the Maryland program. Thank you Kristi. Thank you Marissa. We won't forget you.
Photo Credit: DC BasketCases