It was fitting for the Maryland Terrapins to cap off their Big Ten Conference Tournament Three-Peat with a double-double from Senior center Brionna Jones. Her 27 points and 12 rebounds helped pace the Terps in their 74-64 win over the Purdue Boilermakers. Jones was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
After beating a feisty Minnesota team on Senior Day, the last regular season game of the season, Maryland faced the Golden Gophers again in the second round of the Conference Tournament. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough led the way in that contest, scoring 28 points including six triples. She had plenty of help as Kaila Charles had 15 points and Jones had a modest double-double by her standards, with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman Destiny Slocum reached and passed a couple of freshman milestones, with six assists and two three-pointers she passed Dara Taylor’s 171 assists in a season(set in 2010) and Kristi Toliver’s 59 made triples in a season (set in 2006). Slocum was at 174 assists and 60 made three-pointers at the completion of that game. Maryland’s bench also played a big role in the contest, outscoring their Golden Gopher counter parts 41-15. Maryland went on to win 92-80.
Next up was Michigan State and the sharp shooting Tori Jankoska, it took a career high 32 points from Brionna Jones to get Coach Brenda Frese’s 400th win at Maryland. The Senior center scored 21 of the 32 points in the second half, her fellow classmate had 22 points int he contest as well. The freshmen starting duo of Charles and Slocum chipped in with 18 points. The Terps used a 14-4 run at the end of the first half to create some cushion, they went on to win 100-89. Walker-Kimbrough passed Kristi Toliver to take fourth place on the school scoring list with 2,086 points.
Many were looking forward to another bout between Maryland and Ohio State in the title game, but Purdue shocked the Buckeyes and knocked them out of the tournament.
Jones wasn’t the only Terp to receive honors after the tournament, she along with Shatori and Destiny were named to the All Tournament Team.
Now that the first step of the postseason has been completed, Maryland waits until Selection Monday to see where they will be seeded in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Maryland’s strength all season has been in it’s two outstanding Seniors, their youth got valuable experience in the Conference Tournament. Counting the minutes doesn’t do it justice, getting in a game in that type of environment should do wonders for not only the freshmen, but also other players who have been asked to step up this season. Going forward, the team’s success in the NCAA Tournament will come down to that Maryland mantra. Defend, Rebound, and Run. Maryland hasn’t had too many issues with the rebounding or running part of that, it’s all about the defense.
The Terps head into the next tournament with two of the best players in the country, one of the most dynamic playmakers and are armed with depth.