Blue Raiders fall short at Maryland, 74-69

Brandi Brown scores 22 points and hits six 3-pointers in the loss

December 5, 2007 · MT Media Relations
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - An 11-0 run with four minutes remaining in the game gave third-ranked Maryland the lead for good and the Terps held on to defeat Middle Tennessee, 74-69, Wednesday night at the Comcast Center.

Middle Tennessee senior Amber Holt had 16 points and 10 rebounds and sophomore Brandi Brown scored a season-high 22 points, hitting six 3-pointers in the contest. Sophomore Chelsia Lymon added 14 points off the bench, but a charging call on Lymon with 35.1 seconds left in the game and the Blue Raiders down just three was the final blow to the visitors.

The teams were nip-and-tuck almost the entire second half. The contest had seven ties and 16 lead changes and Middle Tennessee led 62-61 with 4:32 left in the contest before Tolliver took over, hitting a 3-pointer and then a 15-footer the next time down the floor. UMD's All-America point guard added four free throws, including two with 12.1 seconds remaining to ice the game for the Terrapins.

Tolliver's 3-pointer and jumper started the 11-0 run for the Terps, but Middle Tennessee (3-4) came back with seven straight points. Brown hit the last of her trifectas, then Lymon made a steal and got a layup before Holt hit a tough fall away jumper in the lane with the shot clock running down to cut the deficit to three with 1:10 left in the contest.

The Blue Raiders got a stop on Maryland's next possession. Lymon went to the right and drove to the bucket, laying the ball up and looking like she drew a foul, but former Shelbyville High School star Ashleigh Newman was laying at the bottom of the pile, drawing a charge to help UMD survive for the second straight year against Middle Tennessee.

The Blue Raiders used a 10-4 run to start the second half, tying the contest at 39, and took the lead at 45-44 after a bucket from Holt with 13:59 remaining. From that point there were two ties and eight lead changes as the teams headed down the stretch.

Tolliver led the Terps (11-1) with 19 points, while Laura Harper had 16 and Crystal Langhorne added 14.

"We've been shooting the ball poorly, but we shot the ball better tonight," head coach Rick Insell said. "We're not as big as Maryland, but we match up pretty good with them because all of our kids can shoot the three and it kind of spreads [Maryland] out a little bit. My kids have the green light to shoot anytime and we did a good job tonight of finding the open man and hitting some shots," Insell said.

"We also executed on offense much better and took advantage of each of our opportunities. We also rebounded much better and against a much taller team. We got quality minutes from everyone."

The Blue Raiders started the game quickly with 3-pointers from Johnna Abney and Brown. Langhorne and Harper scored the first 14 points for Maryland, but Middle Tennessee stayed with the Terps by hitting the offensive glass, grabbing 13 offensive rebounds, and also making seven 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes.

Anne Marie Lanning's trifecta from the top of the key just before the break cut the UMD advantage to 35-29 at intermission. Holt was just 2-of-10 from the field but grabbed eight rebounds. Middle Tennessee actually outrebounded the much talker Terps, 23-20, in the first half.

Middle Tennessee next plays at top-ranked Tennessee on Thursday, December 13 at 7 p.m. ET.

Redshirt freshman Angelique Burtts made her first career start in just the sixth game of her career ... Chelsia Lymon's 3-pointer with 12:01 remaining in the first half was the third trifecta of the game for the Blue Raiders, one more than they made in the whole contest Sunday against Western Carolina ... The Blue Raiders shot a season-high 39 3-pointers in the game, making 12, the third time this year the squad has made double-digit 3-pointers in a game and the 19th time under head coach Rick Insell. Middle Tennessee had 11 trifectas at Old Dominion and 12 versus Tennessee Tech earlier this year ... The Blue Raiders outrebounded the much taller Terrapins, 40-34, only the third time this year in seven tries that Middle Tennessee was on the winning side of the rebounding totals. It was also the first time in four games that the Blue Raiders won the rebounding battle ... Chelsia Lymon was 6-of-14 from the field, both career-highs, and also set a career-high with seven 3-point FG attempts. The sophomore also tied her career-high with five rebounds and played just 20 minutes ... Brandi Brown tied her career-high with 15 FG attempts and set season-highs with 22 points, 8-of-15 FG attempts and 6-for-12 3-point FG attempts. It was just the second 20-plus point effort of Brown's career. She netted 25 points versus North Dakota State last season ... Amber Holt had one of her best all-around games, posting her fifth career double-double and second this season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The senior also added a career-high seven assists ... The Blue Raiders are now 0-2 against Maryland with a pair of losses by a combined nine points over the last two seasons. Middle Tennessee falls to 5-6 all-time against the ACC (2-1 versus Clemson, 0-1 against Duke, 1-1 versus Florida State, 0-1 against Virginia, and 1-0 versus both North Carolina and N.C. State).

Head coach Rick Insell
How did you get back in the game in the second half and where do you think thinks turned?

"Really I don't think we were ever out of the game. If we're within 10 or 12 points in any game, the way we shoot the ball outside, we're in every game. We've been shooting the ball poorly. We shot the ball better tonight. We're playing a lot of sophomores and freshmen. We're not going to use that for any kind of excuse, but we're just going to get better and games like this are going to get us better. What better way to come into a place like Maryland, play a great team. I know they were a little tired, but we played Sunday. We were a little tired. We had a play a tough Western Carolina Sunday. This was a great game. They've got some great players and a great coach and some good fans. We appreciate coming to sites like this and playing teams like this."

You played a very close game against Maryland last year at your place. What was the carry-over if there was any to tonight?
"We're not as big as them but we match up pretty good with them because all of our kids, from the one to the five, shoot the three. So it kind of spreads them out on the floor and then we're also able to slash. When you have a player like Amber Holt, who I think is one of the top players in the country. You saw her tonight. Anytime she has the ball in her hands, she's a threat. When they close out of her, it's going to leave someone open and if we can hit that man, my kids know they can pull the trigger at any time. Matter of fact, I'll put them out for not pulling the trigger."

[Maryland] shot the bonus for the last 11 minutes. How much of a factor was that?
"I thought the game was well-called. I haven't got a problem with it. We had some cheap fouls. The only thing I thought that last charging call was questionable. I thought that should have went our way, but we're playing in Maryland. I would hope that would go Middle Tennessee's way if we were playing in Murfreesboro."

Talk about Tolliver. I think she had 11 of their last 17.
"That's why she's the best point guard in the country. You have all kinds of people around the country talking about this one, talking about 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, Tolliver. How many people could do what she did when she put them in the national championship game when she made the shot over the big kid and then in the championship game. Then she came back last year with a great year and she's going to have a great year this year. There's no if's, and's or but's about it. She's going to play on an Olympic team one year. She shoots the ball well. She's a pure shooter. She handles the basketball. She's aggressive. But I tell you what she's got. She's got an ingredient that you're born with and that's she's a winner, flat winner."

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