The Maryland Terrapins are coming off a disappointing season, particularly for their outstanding inside-outside duo of Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough. The two made an impact on the school’s record books during their four year tenure, unfortunately for them their Senior year ended early at the hands of Oregon. Jones and Walker-Kimbrough earned a record of 125-17 (.880) during their years as Terps. They led the Terrapins to three Big Ten regular season and tournament titles, the 2014 and 2015 Final Fours and the 2017 Sweet Sixteen. Shatori finished fourth with 2,156 points and Jones at fifth with 1,928.
Walker-Kimbrough was taken sixth overall by the Washington Mystics, which isn’t much of a shock. Mike Thibault boasts one of the league’s best offenses and that was before this year’s offseason trade for Elena Delle Donne. Washington had to make several other moves to make space for Elena, that meant losing some of their pieces. One can only speculate who joins Delle Donne and Emma Meesseman in the starting lineup, but it’s fair to say that Shatori provides Washington with great depth. She shot 45.9% from beyond the three point line during her college career, her ability to help space the floor will put opposing defenses in a bind when they want to double other Washington players. She’s a good defender, which definitely doesn’t hurt in the least bit. The Mystics added a very good three-and-d type of player at the very least. She showed promise her Senior year of being able to put the ball on the floor and attack hard closeouts, that’s an area of her game to keep an eye on as she goes forward. Her work ethic has been vouched for several times during her college career by her former head coach Brenda Frese. The Mystics staff had a ton of opportunities to watch her over the past few years, that had to make this pick a comfortable one.
The Connecticut Sun took Brionna Jones with the eighth pick in the First Round. She gets to begin her professional career where her collegiate career ended. Like many other teams this offseason, the Sun made some additions as well. One of them is former Terrapin Lynetta Kizer who was a very nice piece for the Indiana Fever. She’s a physical big that excels in pick-and-pop situations. Also in the post for the Sun is the sister of last year’s league MVP, Chiney Ogumwike(She got injured overseas and will miss the entire 2017 season). The former Stanford Cardinal is one of the more talented young post players in the league when she’s healthy, Jones has another familiar face as a teammate as well, forward Alyssa Thomas. Brionna Jones gives them a young center in which to build around, nearly every other big on the team can step out on the perimeter on the offensive end in some shape or fashion. Jones is more of the old school back-to-the basket big that will demand double-teams. Her ability to rebound and score against bigger opponents will come in handy. More importantly, this should open the floor for the Connecticut shooters. It’s always great to get open looks off a pass out of a double-team.
This is great news for a Maryland program that hasn’t had the greatest offseasons, this is yet another weapon in their recruiting arsenal. Two more Top 10 picks, now 17 players have been drafted under the Frese tenure. Maryland continues to put quality players into the WNBA, definitely worth keeping an eye on these two during their rookie campaigns. If it goes anything like their college careers, they’ll both only get better with time.