Feature photo courtesy of Lauren Anikis/Stories Beneath the Shell.
The Terps learned they would be without freshman phenom Destiny Slocum due to an illness shortly before Wednesday’s game against Wisconsin.
Maryland played without its third-leading scorer, and the conference leader in assists per game, yet it didn’t matter.
The Terps cruised to an 89-40 win over Wisconsin to improve to 26-1 overall and 14-0 in the Big Ten.
“I’m just really proud of our game to be without our point guard, I thought this team set the tone to start,” Brenda Frese said. “Somebody goes down, we’re all gonna pick up the slack.”
Ieshia Small made her second start of the season in place of Slocum and although she only scored eight points, she added in five rebounds and four assists. The scoring came from Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, who was able to shoulder some of Slocum’s scoring load. She finished with 22 points on 8-of-9 shooting.
“I was just trying to be aggressive,” Walker-Kimbrough said. ”I thought we really did [well in] sticking to our identity which is defend, rebound, and run, and I think that’s where I got most of my shots from. I give all the credit to our team defense.”
Kaila Charles was also able to step up in the point guard spot. She scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds, while playing lockdown defense for 24 minutes. On the inside, Brionna Jones had another dominant performance, picking up her 19th double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds on the night.
Despite missing their starting point guard, the Terps didn’t miss a beat to start the game. Frese’s team scored the game’s first 16 points before Wisconsin got a basket from forward Malayna Johnson over six minutes into the first quarter.
“There was a different feel … but I felt like we all stepped up to the plate as a team,” Charles said. “I don’t think it took as long to get in a rhythm.”
The Terps held an 18-5 lead after 10 minutes and that lead only grew in the second quarter. Maryland shot 53 percent from the field in the period and led 43-14 at halftime. If not for a couple of relaxed defensive possessions, the Terps had a serious chance to hold the Badgers to single-digit scoring in the first half.
“It started with our defense and I thought we were ready to play,” Frese said. “Everyone was really locked in.”
Walker-Kimbrough stayed red-hot in Slocum’s absence and kept Maryland’s offense from missing a beat. The senior guard scored a game-high 15 points in the first 20 minutes on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the floor.
The Terps shot 46 percent from the field in the first half, but it was the defense that was most impressive. They held the Badgers to 22 percent shooting and forced 10 turnovers in a dominant first two quarters.
“I thought our starters set the tone defensively and they were locked in,” Frese said. “I love the responses out of it. If we had a loose ball, it was ours. I just think our mentality, which led to a lot of success for steals and being active in the passing lanes, really helped us.”
The defense let up a little bit for the Terps in the third quarter—allowing 17 points—but the offense kept up the hot shooting, even with the bench players getting most of the playing time. Maryland made 9 of 14 shots in the quarter and led 71-31 after three periods.
The bright spot for the Badgers was freshman forward Courtney Fredrickson. She scored a team-high 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Wisconsin’s leading scorer, junior guard Cayla McMorris, struggled from the field, scoring just only two points on just 1-of-7 shooting. Wisconsin as a team shot only 31 percent.
Frese’s team saw pretty much everyone get involved on the offensive. All 12 Terrapins played at least six minutes and 11 of them found the scoresheet and Blair Watson tied a career-high with 10 points. The Terps shot 52 percent as a team.
“Blair had a really good practice and played really confident,” Frese said. “I thought, again, the energy from our vets for her was really strong. If we want to be playing three games in three days in the Big Ten Tournament, our depth is gonna be key.”
The Terps will travel to Columbus, Ohio, on Monday, Feb. 20 for a tough matchup with No. 13 Ohio State.
Edited by Austin Kleber.
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