Feature photo courtesy of Maryland athletics.
Despite having one of the nation’s best 3-point shooters in Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Maryland entered Sunday’s game against UMBC tied for 248th in the nation in 3-point field goals made with 4.9 per game and ranked 179th in the nation in 3-point percentage, making only 30.9 percent of its 110 attempts.
But Sunday, Maryland blazed its opponent from deep, shooting a season-high 50 percent from beyond the arc in its 92-42 win over the Retrievers.
Brenda Frese said the team grew up after the Louisville game. The Terps’ confidence and ego skyrocketed, and they came out prepared. She said the 3-point shot is an extra weapon that will give opponents fits in the future.
“We really shared the basketball,” Frese said. “We made the extra pass today to be to go from a good shot to a great shot. We want to use all of our weapons, so when people gameplan against us, they can’t find a weakness.”
A big part of the Terps’ success from deep was Kristen Confroy.
Heading into the UMBC matchup, the junior guard struggled with her shot. After shooting 40.8 percent and hitting more 3-pointers (73) in her sophomore year than any player in program history, she averaged only 2.4 points per game, shot just 20 percent from the field and 17.6 percent from 3.
Sunday, however, she was red-hot from the field.
Confroy scored 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and 5-of-7 shooting from deep. She added four assists and two steals.
“Being a shooter, you just have to keep trusting the process,” Confroy said. “Every shot I’ve taken feels like it’s going in and early in the year it just wasn’t. That’s something you have to deal with as a shooter. It was great to see the ball go in a couple times.”
Maryland wasted no time getting reacclimated to its home crowd.
Brionna Jones scored the game’s opening point with a free throw, and Maryland never looked back. The Terps jumped out to a quick 12-4 lead and ended the first quarter leading 24-9. Maryland forced 10 turnovers, and shot 60 percent from the field and a perfect 100 percent from 3.
The second period allowed Maryland to extend its lead.
Confroy led the charge in the first half. She was perfect from the field through the first 20 minutes making all four of her shots, including three 3-pointers.
With a comfortable 42-17 lead at the break, Brenda Frese went deep into her bench in the second half, which allowed every player was able to hit the scoring column.
“Our starters set the tone early for us and we were able to really extend with our depth,” Frese said. “I always love seeing the stat line of a really positive assist-to-turnover ratio [with] 29 assists [and] ever player scoring and just being unselfish as team as we were today.”
Walker-Kimbrough and Jones did not play in the fourth quarter. Walker-Kimbrough only had nine points and three assists in 14 minutes of action while Jones neared a double-double with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Frese said depth is vital to her team’s success and she makes sure to take advantage of it when the opportunity comes.
“It’s huge. That helps everyone recover [and] it allows us to play really hard when we’re on the court with spreading minutes around,” Frese said. “For our depth, it’s the point of taking advantage of it so we can continue to extend [the lead] when we go up against even stronger competition where we’re going to face in our conference play. It’s big for us in the stretch.”
Sophomore forward Kiah Gillespie took advantage of the extra minutes, making an impact on the glass. After only averaging four rebounds per game, Gillespie had a career-high 13.
“I was just trying to focus on doing something else for my team,” Gillespie said. “[My] shot wasn’t falling, but it didn’t matter to me.[I was] just trying continue to rebound and keep second-chance points alive for me and my teammates.”
Maryland will be at home again in its next matchup against Towson Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Edited by Justin Meyer.
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