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Sizzlin’ Shatori: Senior annihilates Illinois in Maryland rout

Walker-Kimbrough finished with 29 points on 10-of-19 shooting to give the Terps the 84-59 victory Thursday.

Seniors Brionna Jones (left) and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough led the Terps past Illinois 84-59 Thursday.
Gillian Vesely/For Swish Appeal

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — As Shatori Walker-Kimbrough flew down the left side of the court, leading a fast break after swiping one of three steals she had in the game, she checked over her shoulder to make sure the Illinois Fighting Illini weren’t following too closely behind on her heels.

They weren’t.

Walker-Kimbrough made the layup with ease, giving the Terrapins a 28-18 lead with about six and a half minutes to go in the second half of what would end as an 84-59 victory for the Terps.

The senior dominated early for No. 2 Maryland (24-1, 12-0 Big Ten), leading all scorers with 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting at the midway mark. The next closest scorer at that time was Illinois’ Ali Andrews with eight.

“I thought Shatori set the tone,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said after the game. “[She] just was sensational through the night.”

The Terps closed the first half on a 10-0 run -- including an and-1 conversion by Walker-Kimbrough — to give themselves a comfortable 40-20 lead at the break.

“The second quarter you saw us get it [to] where we can kind of separate it as a team,” Frese said of the run.

Maryland’s Kaila Charles joined Walker-Kimbrough in double-digit scoring figures for the Terps in the third quarter. The guard finished with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting and also flexed her muscles defensively, pulling down eight boards.

Senior Brionna Jones also contributed greatly for the Terps in the third quarter, adding six of her 12 points in the frame. With a game-high 11 rebounds, Jones passed Tianna Hawkins to reach No. 4 on Maryland’s all-time rebounding list.

Of Maryland’s two great seniors, it was Jones whom Illinois head coach Matt Bollant said his team prepared for more because of her potential to pound the paint.

Choosing to double-team Jones, however, forced the Fighting Illini to leave Walker-Kimbrough open, and she certainly made them pay: she finished with a game-high 29 points on 10-19 shooting, including six threes.

“We didn’t find Walker-Kimbrough, and she got going,” Bollant said. “We did a good job with Jones, but then they took advantage of the openings on the outside. [Walker-Kimbrough] got way too many open looks.”

The Terps’ lead never dipped below the 20s in the fourth quarter, allowing them to cruise to their second win of the year over Illinois (8-17, 3-9 Big Ten).