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NCAA Tournament 2017: Maryland women’s basketball crushes West Virginia, 83-56, to advance to Sweet 16

After a second-round upset last year, the Terps left no doubt.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Michigan State vs Maryland Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland women’s basketball is back in the Sweet 16 after a dominant 83-56 win over West Virginia.

The Mountaineers gave the Terps some trouble early, but a 13-0 Maryland run in the first and second quarters gave the Terps the lead for good.

Brionna Jones led Maryland with 22 points, and also picked up 11 rebounds for her 24th double-double of the season. Destiny Slocum dazzled with 21 points and eight assists, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 19 points and Kristen Confroy had 11 points and went 3-for-5 on threes, scoring in double figures for just the sixth time this season.

Once Maryland got going, it dominated West Virginia. The Terps shot 52 percent compared to 32 percent for the Mountaineers. Teana Muldrow led West Virginia with 16 points and Chania Ray added 14, while leading scorer Tynice Martin scored just 10 on 3-of-18 shooting.

The Mountaineers controlled the tempo early, limiting Jones’ touches inside. The Terps settled for outside shots, and only shot 27.8 percent from the field in the first quarter. West Virginia was also strong on the glass, getting six offensive rebounds in the opening period.

Martin hit a jumper to give the Mountaineers a 16-10 lead with 1:08 to go in the quarter, but that was the last time West Virginia would score for almost six minutes.

Jones laid it in as time expired in the first quarter, cutting the lead to 16-12. Walker-Kimbrough hit a three on Maryland’s first possession of the quarter. Then Walker-Kimbrough and Jones made back-to-back layups, and West Virginia called timeout.

It was part of a 13-0 run for the Terps, which ended on a jumper from Kristina King to cut the lead to 23-18. Maryland followed up with a 12-2 run, building its lead to 35-20. The Mountaineers answered with four points and appeared to be building momentum heading into the half, until Destiny Slocum did this right in front of us.

This was part of an explosion for Maryland in the second quarter. The Terps shot almost 71 percent, and outscored West Virginia 26-8.

Walker-Kimbrough hit a jumper to stretch the lead to 50-27 early in the third, but the Mountaineers continued to hang tough. A free throw from Katrina Pardee cut Maryland’s lead to 54-40 with 3:10 to go. Like the second quarter, though, the Terps closed the quarter strong on a 9-2 run to take a 63-42 lead.

Maryland led by as much as 27 in the fourth quarter, and cruised to advance to the 13th Sweet 16 in program history.

Three things to know

1. The Terps are back in the Sweet Sixteen. After losing in the second round at home last season, Maryland has made it out of College Park. The Terps will play on Saturday in Bridgeport against the winner of tomorrow’s Duke-Oregon second round matchup.

2. After a tough first quarter, Maryland took control. For a quarter, West Virginia controlled the game. It slowed down the pace, made Maryland take tough shots, and shut down Jones inside. But the Terps found a groove on offense, and it all went downhill for West Virginia from there.

3. Destiny Slocum has hit hit buzzer-beaters before, but this one topped them all. The freshman is no stranger to long three-pointers, but they usually come from inside half-court. This was a soccer-style throw in that looked like a pass to Confroy, but somehow ended up in the basket.