The No. 5 Maryland women’s basketball team held off No. 7 Louisville on Thursday in a 78-72 road win.
The Terps are now 7-0, and this was the hardest fought victory yet. Louisville made a strong charge in the fourth quarter after Maryland had led by double digits, but Brenda Frese’s team pulled ahead late and captured the win.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, who played all 40 minutes, led all scorers with 26 points. The senior went 8-of-15 from the floor and a perfect 9-of-9 at the foul line. Brionna Jones had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds, although just two of those points came in the second half, when she struggled with foul trouble.
Asia Durr notched 20 points for the Cardinals on 8-of-27 shooting (3-of-14 from three). She started hot, but kept chucking shots up after cooling off significantly.
Both teams struggled mightily from long range. Maryland went just 3-of-15 from deep; Louisville was 4-of-23, with most of the shots coming from Durr. Maryland’s dominance inside ultimately swung the game, as the Terps out-rebounded Louisville 48-35.
The Terps started slowly, falling behind 18-9 in the first quarter after a 7-0 Cardinals run. Maryland struggled early on with turnovers and sank just four of its first 11 shots. Louisville’s advantage was 24-20 through one quarter thanks to Durr’s 11 points.
Maryland went on a 10-0 run to take the lead early in the second quarter; nine of those points were scored by Walker-Kimbrough or Brionna Jones (whose sister Stephanie added the other on a free throw). The Terps extended the margin to as many as eight before ultimately taking a 42-38 lead into the half.
The first half was dominated by three scorers. Durr had 17 points, while Walker-Kimbrough dropped 16 and Jones added 14 for the Terps. No other player on either side scored more than five.
Kaila Charles and Kristen Confroy matched Walker-Kimbrough with six points in the third quarter, but neither had a bucket in the first half. The Terps led 62-53 entering the final frame.
Louisville started the fourth with an 11-0 charge to take the lead. Frese called a timeout with 6:38 left and her team up two, but the Cardinals added two more buckets on the other side. Maryland regained the lead with just under five minutes to go, but it was back-and-forth for much of the quarter.
Charles’ layup gave the Terps a 69-67 lead with 2:20 left, and Slocum’s three-point play just seconds later made it a five-point game. Maryland never gave it up after that.
Three things to know
1. Brenda Frese hardly contracted the rotation. Eleven Terps saw the floor; only Jenna Staiti stayed on the bench. Frese shortened the rotation to as few as seven players at times last year, but at the moment it looks like this team is much deeper.
2. Kristen Confroy’s quiet start continued, but she still helped out. The junior played 39 minutes and made only one field goal. She scored six points and has just 17 all season. With the emergence of Slocum and Charles, the Terps haven’t needed Confroy to score much. Her defense and rebounding keep her with the first unit: she hauled in 11 boards on the night, second on the team behind Jones’ 12.
3. Maryland overcame losing the turnover battle by a lot. The Terps had 18 giveaways to Louisville’s seven. The Cardinals scored 20 points off Maryland’s turnovers, a number which could be higher (a lot of them were dead-ball turnovers that allowed the Terps to get set). Walker-Kimbrough’s six giveaways were the lowlight in an otherwise strong performance.