Maryland women's basketball extended its winning streak to eight consecutive games with an 87-67 road victory over the Purdue Boilermakers Tuesday evening.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough dominanted the game from the opening tip. The junior guard was 17-of-21 from the field and finished the night with a career-high 41 points. She also added 4 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 assists and 2 blocks. Brionna Jones added 13 points and a game-high 8 rebounds, while Kristen Confroy and Malina Howard chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Walker-Kimbrough sunk her first five shots and recorded the team's first 11 points, but Maryland only led 17-15 after the first quarter despite shooting 8-of-11 from the field as a unit in the opening quarter. The game remained rather close before Maryland closed the half on a 16-4 run. The Terps led 41-28 heading back into the locker room.
The lead ballooned to 18 during the third quarter, but the game wasn't over. Purdue went on a 9-0 run to bring it back within single-digits. The lead shrunk all the way down to seven points early in the fourth quarter, but Maryland pulled away. The Terps ended the second half as emphatically as the first, finishing the game off with a 17-4 run. Walker-Kimbrough's final shot of the game was her only made three-pointer, but it pushed her past the 40-point plateau. It was the icing on the cake in an impressive road win.
Purdue's top scorer this season, senior point guard April Wilson, was held scoreless in the first half and notched just 5 points in the game. She also turned the ball over 5 times, well above her season average of 2.3. Ashley Morrissette led the Boilermakers with 19 points, but was just 6-of-20 from the field.
The No. 5 Terps are now 20-2 overall and 9-1 in the conference. They're 1.5 games ahead of No. 17 Michigan State and tied with No. 5 Ohio State, and their next two games are against these two teams. Get your popcorn ready.
Three things to know
1. Walker-Kimbrough finally eclipsed her career high - by a lot. As good of a scorer as she is, her career high was only 26 points entering Tuesday. Several times this season, she has gotten off to torrid starts before slowing down and/or sitting out down the stretch. Against Wisconsin, she had 22 points midway through the second quarter but didn't add to that total for the rest of the game. She had 17 at the half and 25 total against Penn State, but couldn't reach the milestone before heading to the bench and watching garbage time. Tonight, after a 24-point first half, she kept her metaphorical foot on the gas and finished with a 40-burger. It helped that the closeness of the game kept her on the floor throughout the second half.
2. Both teams struggled with turnovers. Purdue doesn't turn the ball over that often, but the Boilermakers had 13 giveaways in the first half and 17 in the game. Wilson had 5 and Andreona Keys had 6. The Terps' 16 turnovers isn't great, either; Walker-Kimbrough had 5, which is never good but won't make anyone too mad on this night.
3. Bench points were not to be found. The Terps had a season-low 4 points from bench players, all by Tierney Pfirman. Brene Moseley, the team's third-leading scorer behind Walker-Kimbrough and Jones, was held scoreless for the first time all year. Kiah Gillespie and Brianna Fraser played very very limited minutes, and Kiara Leslie didn't see the floor at all. It's probably safe to chalk this up as an isolated event, due in part to Walker-Kimbrough's individual excellence and in part to the close game in a rocking arena. The Terps will definitely need the full squad in the next two games against ranked conference foes.