By Joseph Foley
After taking their second conference loss to No.7 Ohio State on Monday night, No.5 Maryland returned home and defeated Purdue by a score of 73-59 on Thursday.
Brionna Jones paced Maryland (22-3, 11-2) with 12 points and 11 rebounds, marking her third consecutive game with a double double. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough led both teams with a game-high 23 points, and also added 7 rebounds and two assists.
Last week in West Lafayette, Walker-Kimbrough put up a career-high 41 points on the Boilermakers in an 87-67 victory. The junior guard didn’t quite match that performance Thursday, but was still the biggest problem for Purdue’s defense.
“She is just so dangerous in so many ways, and I think they just had a difficult time trying to find a proper matchup to defend her,” said Maryland head coach Brenda Frese.
When asked about the win after the Ohio State loss, Walker Kimbrough said, “It feels good. We have to get back to our standard and playing to that standard consistently.”
Sophomore guard Kristen Confroy opened the scoring for Maryland with a baseline three off a Walker-Kimbrough assist. The Terrapins rode a 16 to 8 rebounding advantage to finish the first quarter up 16-11. Despite only shooting 35 percent in the opening quarter, Maryland held Purdue to just 26.7 percent shooting in the opening quarter.
After Purdue (16-8, 7-6) closed the score to 21-20 early in the second quarter, Maryland separated once again. Jones and freshman forward Brianna Fraser combined to score 11 straight points for Maryland, helping open up a 35-27 lead at halftime.
Both teams traded buckets for most of the third quarter, with neither team capitalizing on each other’s turnovers. Purdue failed to make enough shots to get back into the game, as Maryland held a 51-38 advantage heading into the final quarter. The closest the Boilermakers came would be after junior guard Ashley Morrissette connected on back-to-back three-pointers to make it a 66-59 game. However with only 90 seconds remaining in the game, it was too little too late. Morrissette led Purdue with 18 points to go along with 6 rebounds.
The Terrapins had a season-high 10 blocks on the night, with six different players recording at least one rejection. Maryland never found their shooting rhythm, shooting just 39.3 percent on the game. The Terps were actually better from beyond the arc than inside it, where they shot 7-17 (41 percent).
Turnovers were also an issue for Maryland. After giving away the ball a total of 23 times on Monday, the Terps reached 20 turnovers for the second game in a row. Frese credited Purdue’s defense for keeping Maryland off sync, but also noted some mental unforced errors that could’ve been cut out.
“There are still some areas we need to improve on, turnovers being the big one for us. I think it is also a blend of the four games in 10 days, so we need to step back, get some rest and come back and be as sharp as we usually are,” said Frese.
One area in which Maryland had great success was getting to the free throw line. Maryland shot 18 of 21 from the charity stripe, and limited Purdue to just 7 free throw attempts as a team.
“When you get to the foul line 21 times and our team doesn’t, that’s a big difference,” noted Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp.
Maryland will look to get some rest after playing their sixth game in 16 days. The Terrapins travel to Evanston this weekend to take on Northwestern, with the game on Sunday at 4 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2 and also will be available on the Watch ESPN app.