Shatori Walker-Kimbrough has been regarded as one of the best players in women’s college basketball for a while, but entering this week, her career high was just 26 points. She’s rocketed past that number twice in a row.
After a stellar 41-point performance at Purdue on Tuesday, the junior guard gave the Xfinity Center crowd quite the encore Friday night. She scored 30 in the Terps’ 85-76 win over the No. 17 Michigan State Spartans, 28 of which came in the first three quarters. She shot 9-of-16 from the field, draining all three of her 3-point attempts and all nine of her free throws. Just for good measure, she added 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and a block.
Brionna Jones had an outstanding game in her own right, recording 17 points and 17 rebounds. Brene Moseley chipped in 17 points and 4 assists. For the Spartans, Aerial Powers led all scorers with 31 points, while Branndais Agee added 22 and 9 boards. Powers missed 9 of her first 12 shots, but made 11 of her last 15.
Walker-Kimbrough nearly outscored the Spartans by herself in the first quarter, notching 12 points on 5-6 shooting. Maryland led 22-14 after the opening period. The Terps’ offense remained very efficient in the second quarter, as their lead surpassed and remained in double figures all through the halftime break. When the teams retreated to the locker room, the Maryland advantage was 42-28.
Michigan State shot the ball rather poorly in the first half (37.1 percent and just 1-of-8 from downtown), but the Spartans were within striking distance at intermission. Early in the third quarter, it looked as though Aerial Powers would lead the team’s charge back. With 5:53 remaining in the frame, she had already scored 8 points in the quarter to cut the Terps’ lead to 47-38.
But Brenda Frese called timeout at just the right moment, and Maryland immediately went on a 9-0 surge. The margin jumped back up to 18 and remained in double figures for most of the fourth quarter, but the Spartans didn’t go away. Tori Jankoska three with 1:10 remaining in the game brought the score to 78-71.
After this came the slow and painful saturation of scoring numbers in the form of intentional fouls and free throws. Maryland was just good enough at the charity stripe to keep the Spartans at bay, and that’s how the Terps won their 9th straight game.
3 things to know
1. Walker-Kimbrough can really, really, really shoot. As previously mentioned, she was 3-of-3 from downtown and 9-of-9 from the line. Her 58.5 percent mark from three-point range is far and away the best in the nation. She’s taken her game up at least two levels this year, and it still seems like she grows too passive at times.
2. The Terps soundly beat a good rebounding team on the glass. Michigan State entered the game with the nation’s sixth-best rebounding margin, but Maryland won the battle of the boards 42-33. Jones was exceptional, but 5 Terps grabbed at least 4 boards, and the team needed nearly every one of them.
3. On to Columbus. The No. 5 Terps are now 21-2 overall and 10-1 in Big Ten Play. That only loss came at the hands of the Buckeyes in College Park on Jan. 2. Monday night is Maryland’s chance for revenge, one the team has been looking forward to for well over a month. Get your popcorn ready.