Jakia Brown-Turner will never forget her senior day with Maryland women’s basketball.

When no one was able to corral the ball after Penn State missed a shot, Brown-Turner tore down the court and nabbed it. She kept running straight to the opposing basket and laid the ball in to give her team a four-point lead.

Her fastbreak layup was part of a 7-0 solo scoring run that turned a one-point Maryland deficit into a six-point lead in the third quarter.

“I think it was more of just like a natural thing,” Brown-Turner said of her scoring outburst in the third frame. “Just doing whatever it takes for us to win, whether it’s scoring, rebounding or just doing the things that I can do to help.”

Brown-Turner’s efforts ensured the Terps’ victory over the Nittany Lions Sunday, 77-62. The Prince George’s County native put on a show for her hometown team on senior day, scoring a career-high 32 points — the most by any Terp this season.

[Maryland women’s basketball shuts down, gets revenge on Penn State in 77-62 victory]

Brown-Turner’s new personal best comes after a month of big-time performances for the NC State transfer, who has slowly become more comfortable with her new team.
“I think from Kia’s end she just finally had to settle in,” coach Brenda Frese said. “She’s a kid that has to feel comfortable and confident, and it’s finally connected for her.”

Frese and her staff have finally started to see the Brown-Turner they expected when they recruited her out of the transfer portal. Since Jan. 14, Brown-Turner has averaged 19.7 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while tallying three double-doubles.

Not only has Brown-Turner’s scoring total increased, but so has her accuracy. The NC State transfer has made 60 percent or more of her baskets in five of her last 10 games after only hitting that percentage once in her first 14 games of the season.

Brown-Turner is averaging six rebounds a game on the season, the most in her five-year career. When she was having trouble getting her shots to fall, she focused on grabbing rebounds and defending to help her team, she said. Over time, Brown-Turner has found her offensive rhythm again.

“Just like focusing on rebounding and defensively, it helped me get my scoring back and helped me get rolling,” she said.

[Lavender Briggs’ college career hasn’t been linear. She wants to end it how she started.]

Her speed is another threat Brown-Turner brings to the Terps, Faith Masonius said. When her teammates steal the ball, Brown-Turner is commonly already in position down the court for wide-open transition layups.

Brown-Turner exhibited her speed with 10 seconds left in the first quarter on Sunday, tearing down the court after Shyanne Sellers intercepted a pass.

She received Sellers’ pass and ducked under a leaping Nittany Lion defender to make the fastbreak layup and give her team a six-point lead at the end of the opening frame.

Brown-Turner’s recharged offense has been “huge” for the Terps in the second half of the season, Sellers said. She found her confidence and returned to “JBT shape” at the perfect moment.

For Brown-Turner, her increased confidence and willingness to do anything to help her team win culminated in a career-high performance and exceptional senior night.

“Being able to come to another school, especially my hometown school, it’s just even more special being able to finish my career here,” she said.