Maryland won a share of the Big Ten Regular Season Championship with their win over Minnesota on Sunday. It was their third consecutive Big Ten title, couple that with a great Senior Day celebration and the Terps would be heading into this week’s Conference Tournament with confidence and momentum.
“We really appreciate everyone who voted for our players. There are a lot of great players in our league. This is a testament to the hard work these individuals have put in this season, and also a product of how much success the team has had.” – Brenda Frese
What else could they ask for? That was answered yesterday when League Honors were doled out, Maryland hauled in their fair share. The dynamic Senior duo of Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough were named to the All-Big Ten First Team and the All-Big Defensive Team. None of which comes as a surprise to anyone who’s followed these two players during their tenure in College Park. It was the third consecutive First Team nod for both Seniors.
Jones gets a ton of notoriety for what she does on the offensive end and it’s well deserved. It was great to see her get recognized for the vital role she plays on the defensive side of the floor. She anchors that Terrapin defense, using her size and IQ to protect the rim. Her wingspan and agility prevents teams from exposing her in pick-and-roll situations and her rebounding prowess is well known. Jones does a great job talking on that side of the floor as well, she hedges for teammates and plays good on-ball defense. Brionna has collected her fair share of blocked shots despite being an under the rim type of player.(19.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, shooting 69% from the floor)
Like her fellow classmate, Walker-Kimbrough is known for what she does on the offensive side of the ball. That sweet shooting stroke from beyond the arc is a nightmare for opposing coaches across the country, she worked hard to expand on her offensive game this season and it showed in her ability to make plays for others and attack closeouts off the bounce. Despite her array of talents on that end of the floor, she may be more impressive on the defensive end. Using her long wingspan to shrink passing lanes and fluster opponents, she helps out on the defensive glass and is nothing short of a thief on that end of the floor. (18.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, 43.7% from behind the arc)
Freshman point guard Destiny Slocum was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team. That’s not it though, Slocum was named Freshman of the Year in the league as well. She has looked the part from the first game of the season and has continued to improve every game, Slocum will play a pivotal role for Maryland not only this season but for the duration of her time here. (11 points and 6 assists per game, averaged 7.5 assists in Conference play)
Fellow Freshman and Maryland native Kaila Charles was named to the All-Freshman team. Charles has been a dynamic player for the Terps all season. Essentially a guard playing power forward, her tenacity on the glass has been remarkable all year. She’s a matchup problem for most opposing 4’s (power forwards) because of her skill set and athleticism, this was most evident when Maryland hosted Uconn early in the year in College Park. As she continues to grow in this role and get comfortable, her ability to handle the ball will be an additional weapon in which Maryland can use to attack opposing defenses.(10 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, led all freshmen in rebounding)
Junior Kristen Confroy hasn’t had the greatest year from a shooting standpoint, but she’s more than made up for it by contributing in other areas. Several times this season, she’s grabbed nine rebounds in a contest. As a smaller guard, that’s from effort and pure want-to. Her presence on the floor is key, her ability to shoot helps space the floor. She’s also done a good job this year of making plays for others, Confroy was honored with a Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.
All of the awards and accolades this season were well deserved, Maryland has a first round bye and will play the winner of the Penn State-Minnesota contest. The second season officially begins this week on Friday night at the Big Ten Tournament.