No. 3 Maryland uses second-half run to stop No. 4 LSU

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- LSU coach Van Chancellor thinks Maryland can win it all.

It's hard to argue with the Hall of Fame coach after the third-ranked Terrapins beat his fourth-ranked Tigers, 75-62 to win the Preseason NIT championship Sunday.

"That team is capable of winning a national championship," Chancellor said. "I don't want to put that much pressure on their coach, but they definitely could win it all."

The title was the first Preseason NIT championship for Maryland.

"It's a special win for us," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "I'm so proud of the champions we have in this locker room."

Kristi Toliver scored 23 points and had seven assists to lead the Terps, who have beaten three Top 25 teams in the past eight days.

"The Wizards have Agent Zero, we have 2-0," said Frese of her junior guard, who earned tournament MVP honors. "You can see what makes her so special. How she's leading this team. The shots she makes."

Laura Harper had 14 of her 16 points in the second half and Jade Perry added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Terrapins (5-0), who were missing All-America center Crystal Langhorne for the third straight game. She has been sidelined with an ankle injury.

"It shows we have a team of All-Americans," Frese said. "How we're stepping up as a team."

Sylvia Fowles had 24 points and 13 rebounds for LSU (3-1). Quianna Chaney added 23 points.

Trailing 40-38 early in the second half, Maryland went on a 16-1 run to take a 54-41 lead with 12:23 left in the game. Harper scored six points during the spurt. The only point that LSU got during the run came when Marissa Coleman was called for a technical foul after completing a three-point play.

Fowles finally ended LSU's 5-minute drought without a basket with a jumper. The Tigers could get no closer than seven the rest of the game.

LSU, which hadn't given up more than 54 points in its three victories, saw Maryland pass that mark midway through the second half.

Maryland advanced to the championship game by beating Notre Dame (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) 75-59 on Friday night. The Terps tied a school record, hitting 12 3-pointers in that win. LSU topped Michigan State (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 17 AP) 64-41 on Thursday in its semifinal game.

With four ranked teams in the semifinals, the women's NIT continues to be a strong draw.

Oklahoma, North Carolina and Arizona State will play in the 15th annual Preseason NIT next year.

The Terrapins led 34-32 at the half. Maryland had built its lead up to 30-20 on Perry's layup with 5:46 left, but LSU closed the half on a 12-4 run, including two 3-pointers by Chaney.

Fowles and Chaney kept LSU in the game, combining for 26 of the Tigers' 32 points in the first half. The two seniors were 10-for-22 (45 percent) in the first half while the rest of the team was just 3-for-19 (16 percent).

"We shot too many 3s," Chancellor said. "We weren't patient enough to get the ball into [Sylvia]."

LSU leads the series 3-2.