Seniors Jones, Walker-Kimbrough leave their mark on the Maryland program

(Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics)

By Max Marcilla

In front of an Xfinity Center packed with grateful Maryland Terrapin fans, seniors Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough put on a show — just as they have done for the last four years.

The two legendary Terps played in their final regular season home game Sunday. Jones and SWK  combined for 51 of Maryland’s 93 points in the Terps’ dominant 93-60 victory over Minnesota.

With the win, the Terps have secured at least a share of the Big Ten Regular Season title, the third year in a row they have accomplished this feat.

“Obviously, I’m really extremely proud of this team to be able to send our seniors out in just an incredible day,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “I’m proud of the fact, when you talk about the consistency factor, of a back-to-back-to-back regular season titles.”

“They work so hard but they make it look so easy,” Frese continued.”The thing is, it’s not easy.”

SWK and Jones did what they do best on Sunday. Jones recorded a double-double, scoring 24 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. It was her 20th double-double of the season.

Meanwhile, Walker-Kimbrough sank five of her seven 3-point attempts, scoring a team-high 27 points and dishing out six assists.

The duo still hopes it has a lot of basketball left to play, as Maryland’s postseason begins with the Big Ten Tournament on March 3. However, it is impossible not to look back at the best moments Walker-Kimbrough and Jones provided in the red, white, black and gold.

Feb. 2, 2016 at Purdue

Not only did the then-junior Walker-Kimbrough set her career-high with 41 points, but she did so incredibly efficiently. She knocked down 17 of her 21 shot attempts and stuffed the stat sheet with four rebounds, four steals, three assists and two blocks.

“It honestly left me speechless,” then-senior Brene Moseley said in a Washington Post article. “I’ve watched a lot. I’ve seen Tianna [Hawkins] and Alyssa [Thomas] get 20 and 30, but nothing as effortless as that was.”

Walker-Kimbrough has scored in double figures in 106 of her 135 games as a Terp, but only reached the 40-point mark once. It was certainly a night to remember.

Jan. 11, 2017 vs. Penn State

Jones saw Walker-Kimbrough’s 41-point performance and raised her one, as she put up 42 in a historic game against the Nittany Lions.

Shooting an incredibly efficient 15-of-19, along with 12-of-14 on free throws, Jones tied the program’s scoring record in the performance of the year.

Jones was quick to deflect praise that night, giving “all credit to my teammates,” who “just found me when I was open.”

Her teammates, including Walker-Kimbrough, sent the praise right back.

“[Jones] is more than capable of getting 40 every single night,” Walker-Kimbrough said, in a Baltimore Sun article. “She’s a dream to have down low.”

Fast-forward to Sunday and Walker-Kimbrough still found a way to thank Jones for her inside dominance.

“Bri Jones, even though this ride is far from over we made it,” Walker-Kimbrough said after the win. “Thank you for attracting all five defenders on the floor at all times, making my job very easy. I wouldn’t want to share this moment with any other person.”

Re-writing the record books

SWK and Jones have their names plastered throughout the Maryland record books and, with some basketball still to play, the duo will only rise up the lists.

Walker-Kimbrough is the all-time leader in 3-point field goal percentage, as she had connected on 45 percent of her 3-pointers entering Sunday’s game.

Meanwhile, Jones is second all-time in field goal percentage, as she had made 64.6 percent of her attempts entering Sunday’s game. She only trails Crystal Langhorne, the Terrapins second-leading scorer of all time.

Jones and Walker-Kimbrough both find themselves in the top 10 in total points. Walker-Kimbrough’s 2,036 through Sunday’s game ranks fifth all-time while Jones’ 1,792 is eighth.

The duo continued to set records on Sunday, as Walker-Kimbrough’s 27 points officially made her the leading single-season scorer in Terps history. Jones’ 14 rebounds moved her into third-place in a single-season.

Leaving a mark

As the only two seniors on a championship-caliber team, Walker-Kimbrough and Jones have a lot of knowledge and experience to pass on to the team’s future stars.

“Whenever you put the team first, everything else will fall into play,” Walker-Kimbrough said. “Not focussing on yourself, and when you put the team first, individual accolades will take care of themselves. Continue to work hard and trust the process and put the team first.”

At one point, the now-legendary duo was the underdog.

“I think maybe there might have been some doubts after Alyssa Thomas graduated [about] what this team was going to become,” Frese said. “These two weren’t McDonald’s All-Americans, they [didn’t come] with big high rankings. But what people didn’t understand is they didn’t measure their heart and their competitive fire.”

Hanging in the rafters

Thirty-two and 42 will forever be synonymous with success for Maryland women’s basketball, as the two had their jerseys raised to the rafters after the game.

“I don’t think it’s completely sunk in that our names are going to be honored forever, alongside the amazing company that’s up there,” Jones said. “I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else but Maryland and I’m extremely glad I chose here.”

The two join players such as Alyssa Thomas, Crystal Langhorne, Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver, all of whom were top 10 picks in the WNBA Draft. Jones and Walker-Kimbrough will be immortalized among Maryland legends.

“It’s only fitting,” Frese said, “that as you both continue to leave your legacies — five Big Ten titles, and counting; 120 wins, and counting; two Final Fours, and counting — that we raise your banners here today.”

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