Now, the waiting game. The Maryland Terrapins have taken care of business yet again, they cemented their back-to-back regular season Big Ten Championships by winning the Conference Tournament for a second consecutive year. The Terps would rally from a two point halftime deficit to run away from Michigan State with a 60-44 win on Sunday night.
Maryland didn’t have as easy a go as they did last season, in when they ran through Conference play undefeated. This season, they found out they had an arch enemy in Ohio State, the Buckeyes would be responsible for both of Maryland’s conference losses (the third came out of conference to Uconn).
As with a new year, this was a new team and leaders had to emerge with Seniors departing last season. While there are four seniors on this year’s roster, all of which play an integral role to this team’s success, they are powered by their star juniors. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones were unflappable all season and answered the call in the Big Ten tournament.
SWK would be named the Most Outstanding Player and Jones was named to the All Tournament Team. Walker-Kimbrough scored six points during an 11-0 Maryland run in the third quarter. Michigan State would respond with a run of their own, but the Terrapins showed a championship level resolve. Maryland responded with a 9-2 run after the Spartans cut an eight point deficit to six. The Terps never looked back, pushing their lead to as many as 18 before the game was over.
Walker-Kimbrough finished the game with 19 points and 10 rebounds, her partner in crime would finish with a double-double as well. Bri Jones didn’t have her highest scoring output with 10 points, but she was a beast on the glass en route to pulling down 14 boards. More impressive was her six steals at her position, she set the tone defensively for Maryland early in the tournament against Iowa. Maryland was well ahead when the junior center dove for a loose ball. That intensity would be infectious during the three game run.
As always, the Terps got many contributions from their extremely deep team. If there’s one thing that can be said about this bunch, it’s that they come at you in waves. They have nearly every type of piece a team could want, let alone possess on one roster.
With them being crowned Conference Champs for the second time, it’s time to get some rest and find out where they’ll be playing and who in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Is their a third consecutive Final Four run in this programs future? Is this the bunch that will do what the 2006 group did and win the National Championship? Only time will tell, time is what they’ll have a bunch of as they wait Monday night’s Selection Show. No matter where they’ll be seeded, the Terps have what it takes to make another deep run.