Walker-Kimbrough’s hot shooting leads Terps to Big Ten semifinal

Feature photo courtesy Lauren Anikis/Stories Beneath Shell.

In Sunday’s senior day game against Minnesota, senior Shatori Walker-KImbrough went off for 27 points in her final regular season home game.

This time in Indianapolis against that same Minnesota team, Walker-Kimbrough posted an even better performance.

The senior guard scored 28 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field and 6-of-8 shooting from 3-point range in Maryland’s 92-80 win over the Gophers. The victory sends the Terps to Saturday night’s semifinal game.

After some uncharacteristic sloppy play in the first few minutes, the Terps used an 11-0 run to take an eight-point lead. They continued to expand the lead throughout the first quarter, and a pull-up three from Ieshia Small at the buzzer put Maryland up 27-14 after 10 minutes of play.

Brenda Frese decided to employ her full-court press in the middle of the quarter, and it immediately forced back-to-back turnovers, which helped the Terps build the early lead. Turnovers continued to be an issue for the Gophers, who coughed it up 13 times in the first half.

Minnesota made its run in the second quarter and Maryland struck right back. After a 7-0 Gophers run cut the Maryland lead to five, the Terps came back with a 12-2 run out of a timeout to go back up by 15. From there, Maryland was able to keep its distance and take a 47-33 lead into halftime.

In the third quarter, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough emerged to take over the gym in Indianapolis. She shot 6-for-6 from the field and buried four threes on her way to scoring 16 of Maryland’s 25 points in the frame. Walker-Kimbrough’s offensive domination aided the Terps in extending their lead to 72-56 after 30 minutes of game time.

After losing by 33 points on Sunday in College Park, Minnesota was able to hang with the Terps for most of Friday’s game due to the breakout play of freshman guard Gadiva Hubbard. She is averaging 11.8 points per game on the season, but managed to score a career-high 28 points on 11-of-20 shooting against Maryland.

The Terrapins were able to pull away for good in the fourth quarter, and the Gophers’ hopes were dashed when sophomore guard Kenisha Bell went down with an ankle injury early in the frame. Bell would not return to the game and finished with only 11 points on 3-of-9 shooting.

Alongside Walker-Kimbrough, Maryland’s two freshman point guards made contributions on both ends of the floor. Destiny Slocum finished with 13 points and six assists, and continued to find the open player on the court. Kaila Charles scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds, while again helping to play solid defense on Minnesota’s Carlie Wagner.

Wagner, who is the Gophers’ leading scorer, was held to only five points in Sunday’s matchup, and struggled against the Terps again on Friday. While Walker-Kimbrough or Charles defended her almost all game long, Wagner managed 21 points, but on only 7-of-21 shooting from the field.

Brionna Jones, who also dominated the Gophers on Sunday with 24 points, was held down a bit by the Minnesota defense. Jones recorded her 21st double-double of the season, but with only 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Jones made a difference on the glass, grabbing 13 boards.

The Gophers did outrebound the Terps 36-35, which is almost unheard of for Maryland, but Frese’s team made up the difference in its defense. Despite allowing the Gophers to shoot 45 percent from the floor, the Terps forced 19 turnovers, which turned into 28 points on the other end.

Maryland’s offense also got the job done, using 11 made threes to bury the Gophers every time they thought they could get back into the game.

The Terps will now take on the winner of the quarterfinal matchup between Michigan and Michigan State. That semifinal game will tip off Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network.

Edited by Austin Kleber.

Connor Newcomb
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Connor Newcomb

Connor is a journalism major from Fallston, Maryland. Aside from TLB, he has also worked for Maryland Baseball Network, WMUC Sports and Fish Stripes on SB Nation. It is said that he will never be truly happy until the Orioles win a World Series in his lifetime. He reminds you to never bunt.
Connor Newcomb
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About Connor Newcomb 102 Articles
Connor is a journalism major from Fallston, Maryland. Aside from TLB, he has also worked for Maryland Baseball Network, WMUC Sports and Fish Stripes on SB Nation. It is said that he will never be truly happy until the Orioles win a World Series in his lifetime. He reminds you to never bunt.