Maryland women’s basketball survived a road scare to start the new year, defeating Minnesota 83-72.
The Terps’ two seniors led the way, as Brionna Jones finished with 27 points and 13 rebounds, and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough had 22 points and 10 assists. Kaila Charles added 12 points and four rebounds.
Maryland’s other two starters didn’t have great shooting nights, but still made an impact on the box score. Kristen Confroy scored just six points but had eight rebounds and five assists, while Destiny Slocum had nine points and five assists.
The Terps shot just 39 percent in the first half but finished the game shooting 47 percent, and had 27 assists on 36 made field goals.
Carlie Wagner finished with 20 to lead the Gophers, and Kenisha Bell had 16 points and eight assists. Minnesota stayed in the game despite 21 turnovers, and being outscored 52-30 in the paint.
Just like UConn did to Maryland on Thursday, the Terps jumped out to an early lead and held off multiple runs by the Gophers throughout the game. Maryland jumped out to a 7-2 lead, but Minnesota hit four of its first five shots to cut the lead to 12-10.
Following a timeout from Brenda Frese, the Terps closed out the first quarter on a 12-4 run to take a 24-14 lead.
After trading baskets twice to start the second quarter, Minnesota went on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 28-24. It was then Maryland’s turn to make a run, scoring off three straight Gopher turnovers to push the lead back up to 28-24. But the Terps finished the quarter shooting 2-of-11 from the field, and went into halftime with a 38-32 lead.
Once again, Maryland pushed the lead out to 10 to with four straight points to start the third quarter, but Minnesota responded with an 8-0 run of its own to cut the lead to 42-40 and cut it to one with 3:23 left in the third quarter. The Terps went back to Jones to stop the bleeding and a Slocum three capped off a 12-4 run that gave Maryland a 60-51 lead with 44 seconds to go in the third quarter.
Minnesota continued to fight back and a three-pointer from Joanna Hedstrom cut it to one at 68-67 with 6:10 left. After Jones had stopped Minnesota earlier in the half, this time it was Walker-Kimbrough’s turn, and the senior scored five straight to give the Terps a six-point cushion. Minnesota would cut it to five, but back-to-back three-pointers from Slocum and Confroy put the game away.
Three things to know
1. Minnesota kept it close, but Maryland was able to pull it out. The Gophers gave the Terps all they could handle on the night they retired all time leading scorer’s Rachel Banham’s number. They played Maryland close, but never had the lead or a possession where they could have taken the lead.
2. Brionna Jones bailed the team out. Every time Minnesota came close, the Terps went to their security blanket inside. After intially struggling to deal with the size of 6’5 center Bryanna Fernstrom, Jones was dominant in the second half and gave Maryland many much-needed buckets.
3. Maryland struggled early from behind the arc, but made crucial shots late. After going 5-of-20 from behind the arc against UConn, Maryland started tonight 2-of-12. But the Terps finished 4-of-6 and made two threes to put away the game. This could be a good sign, as Maryland has struggled on three-pointers this season.