Thanks to a historic performance from senior center Brionna Jones, Maryland women’s basketball took down Penn State 89-83 Wednesday in College Park.
The No. 3 Terps (16-1, 4-0 Big Ten) started slowly and trailed for most of the first half, but pulled ahead late in the second quarter and never let it slip. The Nittany Lions (11-6, 1-4 B1G) made a late run, but it wasn’t enough.
Jones tied the school record with 42 points, thanks to 15-of-19 shooting from the field and a 12-of-14 showing at the free-throw line. She also tallied 14 rebounds, vaulting past the 1,000-rebound mark for her career. Jones has recorded seven straight double-doubles.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 16 points for the Terps, while Destiny Slocum chipped in 11. Teniya Page led the Nittany Lions with 27, with Amari Cooper’s 20 putting her just behind.
Maryland’s 21 turnovers, seven of which came in the fourth quarter, helped keep Penn State in it, but the Terps’ inside presence was simply too strong.
Penn State led for most of the first half. Page went 4-of-6 from three in the opening quarter, and the Nittany Lions led by as many as five in the second. Aside from Jones, Maryland’s offense was sluggish for nearly the entire half.
The Terps turned it around late in the second quarter, going on a 10-0 run to grab their biggest lead of the game to that point. Ieshia Small’s jumper put the team ahead 39-37, and Maryland led 44-39 at the half. Jones had 24 points and seven boards at the break.
Maryland turned on the jets in the third quarter. Jones stayed hot and Slocum, who battled foul trouble and recorded just two points in the first half, facilitated a suddenly-unstoppable offense. The Terps’ lead ballooned to 16 in the third quarter, and they took a 73-57 advantage into the fourth.
Penn State closed the gap in the fourth, but the lead remained pretty consistently in double digits until it was cut to four the final minute due to some late buckets and forced Maryland turnovers. Jones kept piling up points, reaching 41 with three minutes left. The Nittany Lions never folded, but Maryland hung on.
Three things to know
1. Brionna Jones was insane. She posted only the third 40-point game in Maryland history and is now tied for the school scoring record with Marissa Coleman, who had 42 in the 2009 NCAA Tournament against Vanderbilt. Walker-Kimbrough dropped 41 on Purdue last season.
2. She also eclipsed the 1,000-rebound mark. The senior entered the game with 993 career boards, reached the millennium before halftime and left the building with 1,007. She’s the fifth Terp to reach 1,000 rebounds; Tianna Hawkins is just ahead of her with 1,086, and Alyssa Thomas holds the record with 1,235.
3. The three wasn’t falling for Maryland. The Terps finished just 3-of-11 from downtown and didn’t connect from long range until Walker-Kimbrough sank one in the final minute of the first half. Maryland was 0-for-4 before that, while Penn State had already gotten five to fall (four were from Page). This comes on the heels of a 10-of-24 outing Saturday against Northwestern, but at least the Terps had Jones to more than make up for it.