By Cynthia Maldonado Perez | @CDMP427
Sports Capital Journalism Program
INDIANAPOLIS – The second-seeded Maryland Terrapins, two-time defending champions of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament, extended their perfect record and reached a semifinal for a third consecutive year when they defeated 10th-seeded Minnesota, 92-80, on Friday night.
Maryland (28-2) will play sixth-seeded Michigan State on Saturday 25 minutes after the end of the match between Ohio State and Purdue.
The Terrapins have a record of 7-0 in the tournament since joining the Big Ten in 2014-15. Maryland has won 54 of 57 games in its three seasons in the conference.
Maryland was led by senior guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough with 28 points and six 3-point shots. She tied her season high for field goals with 11, in 15 attempts.
“I think Minnesota came out and threw the first punch,” Walker-Kimbrough said. “I give credit to them. They came out pushing tempo, pushing in transition and had us on our heels a little bit. But I thought we responded really well. I thought we came out in the second quarter, third quarter defensively and offensively putting the pressure back on them.”
Senior center Brionna Jones had 14 points and 13 rebounds for her 21st double-double of the season. Maryland’s freshman guards played important roles. Kaila Charles scored 15 points with six rebounds, and Destiny Slocum scored 13 points with six assists.
In 16 of its 30 games this season, Maryland has had at least four players score in double figures.
Maryland made 52.2 percent of its shots, 52.4 percent of its 3-point attempts, and had 23 assists on its 35 baskets.
Maryland tied for the fifth place in Big Ten Tournament history with 11 3-point field goals.
“They’re a seasoned team and a team that’s used to playing in these moments,” Minnesota coach Marlene Stollings said. “And every time we made a run, they came right back. We were trying to get it to 10 in the second half and every time that we would get on a little run, they answered it. And that’s what championship teams do.”
For the Golden Gophers, four players scored in double figures. Freshman guard Gadiva Hubbard scored a career-high 28 points, followed by junior guard Carlie Wagner with 21 points, five rebounds and three steals. Sophomore guard Kenisha Bell and junior center Bryanna Fernstrom each scored 11 points.
Hubbard had a career high 11 field goals. This is the third time in her career that she scored at least 20 points.
“I thought we came out with more heart and intensity,” Wagner said. “If they made a run, we didn’t break down and stop playing. We kept playing with them and kept coming at them, kept staying alert, stayed aggressive. And I thought we did a good job of that throughout the third and fourth quarter, just staying aggressive.”
Wagner scored 20 or more points for the 15th time this season and the 33rd in her career. Minnesota’s bench scored 41 of the team’s 80 points. The Golden Gophers outscored the Maryland bench, 41-15.