By Nolan DeMott
The Maryland Terrapins defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers 93-60 on Sunday afternoon in their final game of the regular season. The Terrapins were looking to rebound from their second defeat of the year to no. 12 Ohio State. With the loss, the Terps relinquished their 14-game winning streak and are now 2-2 vs. ranked opponents this season, a somewhat concerning statistic as they enter the NCAA tournament. After the game, Coach Brenda Frese discussed where she believes her team stands entering March.
“One of the things I really challenged our team on was our defense,” said Frese. “And I feel like we’ve really taken off in terms of what we’re doing. [Also] our bench has to continue to give us great depth. If you want to play in the Big 10 tournament—three games in three days—we have to be able to continue to utilize our depth.”
The Terps struggled early in the first quarter to get the offense going. Minnesota was able to contain Brionna Jones for the first part of the first quarter, holding her without a field goal in the first eight minutes. However eventually, the Terps’ three-point shooting came alive. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough made two of the team’s four three pointers in the quarter, leading the team with ten first quarter points. Walker-Kimbrough finished the game with five threes and 27 points, and the Terrapins led 26-12 after one.
Maryland carried that momentum into the second quarter, opening up the quarter on a 12-2 run. Jones began to make her presence known, scoring eight points in the quarter without missing a field goal. Jones ended the game with one of her routine but nonetheless impressive stat lines: 24 points and 14 rebounds. While the Terps continued to execute on offense, the Gophers also began to shoot the ball well from beyond the arc, connecting on all three of their three-pointers in the quarter. Despite that fact, the Terrapins still led comfortably at halftime, 51-30.
Both teams struggled to score in the beginning of the third quarter. During one stretch, neither team scored for over two minutes. But with a 20+-point lead, the Terps could afford the lower scoring second half. Entering the fourth quarter, the Terps held a 27-point lead. With the big lead, many of the less experienced Maryland players got an opportunity to prove themselves. Sophomore Kiah Gillespie made the most of her few minutes of action, scoring ten points on 5-6 shooting as Maryland cruised to victory.
It was the final home game for both Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough who graduate this year. Both players received standing ovations upon exiting the game, and both were honored following the game with their names being hung in the rafters. With the win, the Terrapins completed their regular season with a final record of 27-2 to win the Big 10 for the third straight season to which Coach Frese commented,“I am extremely proud of this team to be able to send our seniors out on an incredible day.“
Maryland will travel to Indianapolis next weekend to see if they can win their third straight Big Ten Tournament.