By Cynthia Maldonado Perez
Sports Capital Journalism Program
INDIANAPOLIS – For the third consecutive year, the Maryland Terrapins (30-2) became champions of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament. The second-seeded Terrapins (30-2) extended one of the most dominant runs in the 23-year history of the event, defeating the fifth-seeded Purdue Boilermakers, 74-64, on Sunday night.
Maryland became the third school to win three straight Big Ten tournaments, joining Purdue from 1998 through 2000 and Ohio State from 2009 through 2011. The Terrapins improved to 9-0 all-time in Big Ten Tournament play. Their victories have been by an average of 12.67 points, with only one single-digit outcome, the 77-74 championship-game victory over Ohio State in 2015.
Maryland set a tournament record by averaging 88.7 points per game in its three contests. The Terrapins led the championship game by as many as 21 points with 6:08 to go in the game.
Senior center Brionna Jones led Maryland with 27 points on 11-of-13 shooting, with 12 rebounds, three assists and five blocked shots. Jones, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, had her 22nd double-double of the season and the 55th of her career.
Jones moved to third place for most rebounds in a single-season by a Terrapin with 354 boards. Maryland increased to 14-0 when Jones is the team’s leading scorer in the game.
Senior guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 7 points tonight to set a Maryland record for most points in a single season with 688, topping Vicki Bullet’s record of 686 in 1988-89.
Maryland made 51.8 percent of its shots. In the semifinal victory over Michigan State, the Terrapins made 59.7 percent.
“This team does a tremendous job, I think, of sharing the basketball at times,” said Maryland coach Brenda Frese. “We just really slowed down and we were really poised. But they just continued to feed the hot hand, and you saw a lot of contributions that we were able to get to see our bench depth.”
Purdue’s Big Ten Tournament current record is 42-14 overall and 9-5 in Big Ten championship games.
Boilermakers’ senior guard Ashley Morrissette increased her total to 76 points in tournament with her 18 points on Sunday. This is the 10th best scoring output by an individual player in single Big Ten Tournament and the most by a Boilermaker.
Junior guard Andreona Keys reached double figures for the 17th time this season after scoring 17 points on Sunday’s final.
This was the first time this season that the starting five of Morrissette, Keys, Ae’Rianna Harris, Dominique Oden and Bridget Perry lost a game. The Boilermakers had been 8-0 this season with that starting five.