College, Park -- If there was one adage to describe the Maryland Terrapins women's basketball team thus far in the season, it might be this: "consistency is key." The Terps lived up to this mantra in their 86-43 win over Central Connecticut State University Saturday afternoon in College Park.
Though Maryland's starting lineup was slightly altered - seniors Tierney Pfirman and Malina Howard both got the nod - many factors of the team's play remained the same. One of those characteristics, the numbers next to junior, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough's name on the final stat sheet, seemed like business as usual.
The Aliquippa, Pennsylvania native has seen over thirty minutes of playing time against the Terps' last three opponents, logging 36 against South Dakota State, 34 against Pittsburgh, and 39 against Syracuse. She saw significant minutes again (a team-high 24) against the Blue Devils, but it's what she is able to do with those minutes that gives Maryland the edge.
"She's a veteran," head coach Brenda Frese said of her starting guard. "She comes out [and] plays hard on both ends of the floor. She defends, scores [and] rebounds for us." Saturday's contest was no exception, as Walker-Kimbrough notched a game high 18 points, grabbed four rebounds (including two offensive boards), had two blocks, and swiped three steals.
The Terps have only faced one ranked opponent so far this season (#20 Syracuse), but Walker-Kimbrough has produced solid numbers no matter whom Maryland squares up against. Her season and career high in scoring, 26 points, came in a mid-November win over High Point.
Since then, she's recorded 10, 16, 20, 16, 19, and 18 points in the games that followed, each basket bringing her closer to the noteworthy accomplishment of 1,000 career points. With four games left before Big Ten play, she stands at 965 points, while teammate Brionna Jones has 821.
In addition to leading the Terps, Jones and Walker-Kimbrough have put their talents on display internationally. This past summer, Jones played for the gold-winning USA Basketball team in the World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea. Walker-Kimbrough represented Team USA at the Pan American Games in Toronto, where she won silver and averaged over 10 points throughout the five game tournament.
Walker-Kimbrough is no stranger to accolades, either. Already this season she was named to the Big Ten Player of the Week Honor Roll for the week of November 23rd. Before the season, she was named to the Preseason All-Big Ten Team and the Wooden Preseason Top 30. Her in game consistency might be her most valuable asset, though, which is all the more important for Maryland as a team.
"Shatori's been so consistent, coming out back-to-back games, leading this team with her energy and her intensity," Frese said after the High Point game. "She's just setting the tone for us. We've just got to have more players continue to play at that pace and consistently be there as we get ready to play."
The Terps look to carry out that consistency again when they face Loyola University Maryland on Tuesday, Dec. 8.