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Walker-Kimbrough goes Kobe, brings showtime to Terps

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough recorded 27 points in Maryland’s 79-70 win over Northwestern Sunday, though the game was no Sunday drive for the Terps in the second half. The Wildcats battled back after being down as many as 24 in the third quarter to bring it within five, but their efforts would fall just short.

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The Maryland Terrapins were able to stave off a huge comeback effort by the Northwestern Wildcats in a Valentine's Day matchup Sunday in Evanston, Illinois. The Terps got 27 points from Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, 15 from Tierney Pfirman, and 14 from Brionna Jones.

Walker-Kimbrough and Jones got things started for the Terps with a jumper and a layup, respectively. Walker-Kimbrough then rattled home a three from the left side and finished a layup to give the Terps a 9-0 lead to open the game.

After a Wildcats timeout, the Terps added to their lead with a hoop by Jones. Chloe Pavlech then drew an offensive foul to get the ball back into the Terps' hands. Northwestern's leading scorer, Nia Coffey, picked up her second foul with about 5:30 left in the first quarter.

The Terps continued to go to the bucket and picked up a 14-0 lead before the Wildcats' Maggie Lyon finally broke the drought with a three with a under five minutes left in the first.

Pfirman had a hot first quarter for the Terps off the bench, scoring seven points on 3-of-3 shooting. Jones was also efficient in the first frame, recording six on 3-of-3 shooting, and Walker-Kimbrough hit 5-of-6 to tally 11. After one, the Terps led 25-5.

Ashley Deary got into the lane for two to bring the Wildcats to a total of seven to open the second quarter. She then made one of two at the line to bring the score to 25-8, Terps. Lyon hit another three to get the Wildcats to 11.

The Terps ran into a bit of turnover trouble through the middle of the second quarter. With 4:37 left until halftime, Maryland had committed nine turnovers to Northwestern's five. Walker-Kimbrough kept the Terps in the game offensively, converting on a three-point-play with 3:46 remaining in the quarter. The Terps led 36-18 at the half.

Pavlech hit a three to put the first points out of the break on the board for the Terps. A steal and score by Walker-Kimbrough was then answered by a jumper from Coffey. Kristen Confroy sunk a three for the Terps with just over eight minutes remaining in the third to give Maryland a 46-22 edge, their largest lead of the game.

In the middle of the third quarter, the Wildcats got hot, going on a 15-0 scoring streak with contributions from Christen Inman, Deary, Coffey, and Lyon to bring the score to 48-37, Terps. A few buckets from Pfirman gave Maryland slightly more breathing room. Her squad led 56-46 through three quarters.

A Brene Moseley layup with 7:05 remaining in the game gave the Terps a 64-52 advantage, but Northwestern's Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah answered with a layup of her own on the other end. A Lyon jumper and another layup by Kunaiyi-Akpanah brought the Wildcats within five at 65-60 with 5:34 remaining, forcing a Maryland timeout.

The Terps responded well after the brief break, getting back to an 11-point lead at 73-62 with three minutes to go. Inman hit a long-ball to bring it back to a single-digit difference at 73-65 with about 1:25 left, but Malina Howard hit two key free throws for the Terps seconds later. Lyon fouled out with 30.2 seconds remaining. The senior finished with 25 points. A few more free throws from the Terps in the final possessions sealed the deal.

Coffey and Inman finished with 15 points apiece and Deary finished with 11.

Next up for Northwestern is Penn State on Feb. 17. The Terps will look to take on Michigan the same day.