Maryland women’s basketball started its Big Ten Tournment the exact same way it concluded its regular season: with a resounding win over Minnesota.
The No. 2-seed Terps cruised to a 92-80 victory in the tournament quarterfinals. Much like their last game on Sunday afternoon, they pulled away from the Golden Gophers early on. Minnesota hung with Maryland during stretches, but once the Terps took the lead, they never looked back.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 20 points for the seventh consecutive game, leading the Terps with 28 on 11-of-15 shooting, including a blistering 6-of-8 from beyond the arc. She tallied 19 after the intermission.
Fellow senior Brionna Jones finished with another double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds. Maryland’s two all-freshman team members, Kaila Charles and Destiny Slocum, added 15 and 13 points, respectively.
The Terps shot 52 percent from the floor and drilled 11 of their 21 three-pointers.
Freshman Gadiva Hubbard led the Gophers with 28 points, while Carlie Wagner notched 21. Minnesota shot 45 percent from the field but was derailed by 19 giveaways, which the Terps consistently took advantage of.
Maryland brought the aggressive defense early, forcing eight first-quarter turnovers and converting those into 11 points. After the Gophers scored the game’s first four points, Maryland turned on the jets. The Terps took the lead during an 11-0 run and finished the period on top 27-14.
The Gophers started the second quarter well, cutting lead to 31-26, but Maryland didn’t let them get closer than that. After Brenda Frese called timeout, her team immediately scored the next seven points and finished the half on a 16-7 run overall.
Maryland took a 47-33 lead into halftime, with seven Terps scoring between four and nine first-half points. Walker-Kimbrough led the charge with nine, but she wasn’t done.
The senior scored 16 of Maryland’s 25 points in the third quarter, including 11 of the Terps’ 14 before the media timeout. She made all six of her shots, including four triples, in the frame.
Maryland took a 72-56 lead into the fourth quarter and extended the margin as high as 23 before Frese took out most of the starters. Minnesota crept a little closer in the final minutes, but this one was never in doubt.
Maryland will face either No. 3 Michigan or No. 6 Michigan State in the semifinals at 6:15 p.m. Saturday.
Three things to know
1. Same teams, same result. In the second Maryland-Minnesota matchup in five days, the Terps walked away with another dominant win. The Gophers are a young team that simply can’t stay with Maryland for 40 minutes, and the Terps took care of business.
2. The Terps didn’t shut down Carlie Wagner to the same extent. In Sunday’s contest, the junior scored just five points and was shut out in the first three quarters. Wagner had 21 points Friday on 7-of-21 shooting, which is more effective than she was in the last matchup but still a step down from the 26 she dropped on Penn State.
3. Maryland’s one weakness was on the boards. The Terps are the nation’s best rebounding team, but was outrebounded 36-35 in this one. Minnesota hauled in 19 offensive boards and had 24 second-chance points, but it didn’t swing the game.