Kristi Toliver attended Harrisonburg High School, where she graduated from in 2005. Toliver received many accolades during her high school basketball career, including being honored as a McDonald's All-American, Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-American, Parade All-American, EA Sports All-American, and USA Today All-USA Basketball Team member. In addition, she was named Virginia State Gatorade Player of the Year and Virginia Ms. Basketball. She participated in the 2005 WBCA High School All-America Game and 2005 McDonald's All-American Game.
A standout player from the University of Maryland, Toliver was known for her ability to perform under pressure. In the 2006 National Championship game, Toliver, then a freshman, hit a game-tying three-pointer with only seconds remaining to force overtime against favored Duke, leading to a Maryland win and the school's first national championship in women's basketball.
In the 2009 WNBA Draft, the Chicago Sky selected point guard Kristi Toliver with the 3rd pick. Toliver was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks just before the start of the 2010 season. On July 3, 2015, Kristi set a Los Angeles Sparks scoring franchise record with 43 points surpassing Lisa Leslie.