College Park, MD -- Within the course of a minute Friday, Maryland Terrapins seniors Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones had managed to capture the core essence of the Terps’ entire season.
With 1:40 to go in the second quarter, Walker-Kimbrough pulled down a defense rebound and led a charge up the court. She threw off a Bucknell defender with a hesitation move at the left elbow, then drove to the basket for a layup and a foul, which she converted into a three-point play.
Thirty-two seconds later, Jones caught a weak-side offensive rebound, put back a layup and converted on an and-1 of her own to give the Terps a 42-20 lead.
During a season in which Maryland’s seniors have led the way countless times for their younger teammates, the duo stepped up again Friday in their first game of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. The Terps handily put away the Bucknell Bison, 103-61, to advance to the second round.
The pair combined for 20 of 22 first-quarter points for the Terps, including two steal-and-scores by Walker-Kimbrough. She finished with a game-high 28 points and had five steals. Jones finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
Maryland (31-2) went to halftime with a 45-22 lead and came out just as aggressive in the second half.
Jones and Walker-Kimbrough put the Bison (27-6) on their heels again early in the third quarter; they hit back-to-back layups to extend the Maryland lead to 29 and force a Bucknell timeout.
From there, the Terps were able to dominate inside, outscoring the Bison 60-20 in paint points on the game and converting 20 Bucknell turnovers into 23 points. The Terps committed just five turnovers in the game.
For Bucknell and other opponents, the scariest part about the Terps — other than their dominant seniors — might just be the fact that Maryland’s younger players could turn out to be just as talented.
Maryland head coach Brenda Frese added six freshmen to her squad this season and found reliable starters in two of them, Destiny Slocum and Kaila Charles, who have started more than 30 games apiece this season. Slocum had seven assists in Friday’s victory.
By the third quarter Friday, all six freshmen had seen playing time in the first NCAA Tournament game of their careers, and helped to seal the Terps’ blowout victory.
Next up for Maryland will be a Sunday matchup with the winner of West Virginia and Elon.