Just about everything went right for the Maryland women’s basketball team at Indiana on Sunday. Even guard Shatori Walker Kimbrough’s heave from about 70 feet deep found the bottom of the net to beat the third-quarter buzzer.
This team has grown accustomed to impressive buzzer-beaters this season, but this one was a bit extreme. Regardless, Walker-Kimbrough shot opened Maryland’s lead to 38 in its eventual 92-56 win that included strong play on both ends of the floor.
Kiah Gillespie had a feeling Shatori Walker-Kimbrough’s 70-foot shot was going in. SWK scored 23 points on 9-for-16 shooting. pic.twitter.com/zHBKxuGO4q
— James C-H (@JamesCrabtreeH) February 5, 2017
Four Terps finished in double figures and they held the Hoosiers to an abysmal 31.9 shooting percentage.
“We wanted 40 minutes of great defense,” coach Brenda Frese said, “and collectively, as a team, we were able to do that.”
It was close for the first few minutes, with Indiana trailing, 11-9, at the first-quarter media timeout, but the Terps (23-1, 11-0 Big Ten) dominated from there.
Guard Ieshia Small hit a wide open 3-pointer, and center Brionna Jones finished at the rim during a fast break just after the timeout. In a little over a minute, Maryland had opened an 18-9 lead, forcing Indiana into a timeout to stop the momentum with three minutes and 30 seconds remaining in the first.
But the Hoosiers (15-8, 5-5) couldn’t do much to stop Maryland to end the period. Guard Destiny Slocum made a 3-pointer and later converted a three-point play after being fouled on a layup, helping the Terps to a 27-13 lead entering the second quarter.
Maryland extended its lead to start that frame, scoring the first nine points as part of a 14-0 run that started at the end of the first quarter. Indiana went five minutes and 45 seconds without scoring before making a layup with at the 5:31 mark in the second quarter to cut the Terps’ lead to 36-15.
“We wanted to limit their free-throw attempts,” Frese said. “We did a really good job being disciplined.”
The Hoosiers didn’t get to the free-throw line until there were about three minutes left in the first half.
Walker-Kimbrough helped shut down Indiana guard Tyra Buss, who entered Sunday averaging 19 points per game this season. Frese said she “set the tone” for Maryland defensively, but Walker-Kimbrough credited her teammates.
“When she got by our guards, our bigs really walled up really well,” Walker-Kimbrough said. “[Buss is] really good at getting that contact and getting to the free throw line, and I thought our bigs did a great job on the help-side.”
Buss and Indiana never found a rhythm against the Terps. Buss entered the fourth quarter with two points and finished with seven points on 2-for-17 shooting.
Maryland blocked 11 Indiana shots, and the Hoosiers and shot less than 40 percent in every quarter, including 21.3 percent in the third, and endured another long scoreless stretch starting just before halftime.
Walker-Kimbrough hit a 3-pointer on the Terps’ final possession of the half to send Maryland to halftime leading, 46-27, three of her game-high 23 points.
“She’s the leader for this team,” Frese said of Walker-Kimbrough. “Her energy for 40 minutes is sensational on both ends of the floor.”
Indiana didn’t score over the final one minute and 27 seconds of the second quarter and didn’t get on the board in the third period until it was nearly halfway over.
The Terps offense continued to produce, opening its lead to 30 points before Indiana broke its six-minute scoreless stretch.
Maryland’s advantage grew to as much as 41 in the fourth quarter.