Feature Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.
Maryland terminated a late 11-0 run in the final 5:41 to defeat Louisville 78-72 at the KFC Yum! Center Thursday night.
When Cardinals forward Myisha Hines-Allen made an and-one-layup to give her team a 67-65 lead with three minutes and 15 seconds left in the game, a young freshman guard from Meridian, Idaho showed her poise and came through big time for the Terps.
After only scoring five points, Destiny Slocum scored seven points in the last two minutes of the game to seal the deal for the Terps. She finished with 13 points, five rebounds and four assists and earned quite the praise from her head coach, Brenda Frese.
“That’s what makes Destiny so special,” Frese said. “She can erase what’s happened in the past and just stay in the present. Man, she was tremendous in terms of the fearlessness and the confidence and the energy we were able to feed off of.”
After the two teams had their chance to feel themselves out early in the first, Louisville jumped out ahead thanks to a 7-0 run midway through the first quarter, extending their two-point lead to nine. The Terps struggled with their shot, making only four of their first 11 shots. Instead of letting the game slip away from them, the Terps ended the quarter on an 11-6 run and cut the Cardinals’ lead, 20-24.
The Terps built on their late first-quarter momentum and came out strong in the second quarter.
Their 10-0 run early in the 2nd quarter, after Louisville scored the first basket of the quarter, changed the tide of the game. Maryland’s duo, Walker-Kimbrough and Jones, scored nine of those points in the run.
“We had a great start to the second quarter in terms of our play,” said Frese “We got a lot of energy with what we were doing and [our] balanced attack.”
The Terps had an extremely tough time guarding the former No. 1 recruit, Asia Durr. She scored 17 of the Cardinals’ 38 first half points, keeping them within four points at the end of the half. The Terps did a much better job in the second half as she finished with 20 points on 8-of-27 shooting and 3-of-14 from three.
Maryland’s seniors picked the team up when they struggled and carried them throughout the contest.
Walker-Kimbrough and Jones combined for 30 of the Terps’ 42 first half points. Walker-Kimbrough had 26 points on 8-of-15 shooting and a perfect 9-for-9 from the line, while Jones added 16 points and 12 rebounds on the night.
“Our vets Shatori and Brionna really led us in the first half so we can settle in,” Frese said.
In order for the Terps to pull out the victory they had a few things to clean up.
Terps had 10 turnovers, three players had been called for at least two fouls, and they needed production from players other than their seniors as no one else scored more than five points.
Maryland halted Louisville’s attempt of coming back in the third quarter by going on 9-0 run to put them up by 10 with a little over four minutes left in the quarter. They closed out the quarter leading 62-53. Terps limited the Cardinals to 33 percent on 6-of-18 shooting, only one 3-pointer (1-4) and dared them to attack them inside the paint.
Maryland finally saw production from players not named Walker-Kimbrough and Jones in the second half.
After going scoreless in the first half, Kaila Charles and Kristen Confroy showed up with six points apiece, matching Walker-Kimbrough. Charles finished with eights points but had five costly turnovers. Confroy did not score for the rest of the game, finishing her night with six points and 11 rebounds.
Frese took note of the two’s slow starts but commended them for showing up when it mattered.
“[For] Kaila Charles it took about the third quarter to be able to step up [and] Kristen Confroy gave us great minutes [with] her boards,” Frese said.
Frese said the Cardinals had no plans of going down easily but Maryland showed their true colors and grew up.
“I can’t say enough for Louisville’s team–watching them on film and obviously playing them–they’re extremely tough team, really competitive, really really physical but I thought our young team, with our veterans, grew up tonight,” Frese said.
After Hines-Allen’s momentum-shifting-and-one bucket, Maryland, in the toughest environment all year, showed their guts and responded with seven consecutive buckets from Jones, Charles and an and-one layup capped off by Slocum. From that moment forward, they never looked back.
Slocum said these kind of moments are familiar to her and the team got the job done when the lights were the brightest.
“I’ve been in this moments before and I have two veteran players on my team that really led us,” Slocum said. “We knew what to do because they told us what to do. In that moment we had to lock in, play defense [and] have good offense and that’s what we did.”
The Terps will return home Sunday for a 2 p.m. matchup against University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
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