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Terps pull away from WVU to punch Sweet 16 ticket

By: Charlie Wright

Destiny Slocum was a tremendous spark for Maryland as she hit three 3-pointers, including a three-quarter quart heave to beat the halftime buzzer, and scored 19 points.

No situation seems to be too big for freshman guard Destiny Slocum. While the Terps senior duo of Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough once again had their way against their opponent, Slocum was the big spark plug as the Terps heated up and pulled away from the sixth-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, 83-56.

Slocum scored 21 points on 9-for-14 shooting, with three made 3-pointers, eight assists, and three steals. One of those 3-pointers was a three-quarter court two-handed heave over her head to beat the halftime buzzer while sending the Terps into the locker room with a 38-24 lead.

“I’ve seen Shatori make one like that at Indiana and I was like ‘why not?’ Slocum said. “That’s what was in my head. Just kind of throw it up and see what happens. Watching that thing was crazy, I was in shock.”

The Terps got off to a slow start against West Virginia. Both Slocum and Walker-Kimbrough were limited to just one field goal while Jones had one four points in the first quarter. Maryland trailed 14-12 after the first 10 minutes of the game. They shot just 27.8-percent from the floor and struggled to establish their presence in the paint in the first quarter, but Slocum and Walker-Kimbrough each scored nine points in the second quarter. Both his a 3-pointer, but even their presence on the outside when they were slashing to the rim forced the defense to spread out.

Maryland shot 70.6-percent from the floor in the second quarter and out-scored the Mountaineers 26-8 to go from down by four points to start to up by 14 points heading into the break.

They never looked back and pulled away in the second half of the game and they controlled the paint and really started to run away with the game with series of layups at the end of the third quarter.

“I kind of felt us being a little uncertain (in the first quarter), so the biggest thing I wanted to do during the huddles was settle us down and give us poise and confidence,” Frese said. “It’s a 40-minute game so we were going to wear them out by who we are and what we do.”

Jones scored 13 of her 22 points after halftime. For the game, she shot 10-for-13 and had 11 rebounds, three blocks, and two steals. Walker-Kimbrough scored 19 points in the game. Walker-Kimbrough also shined defensively as she held lead Mountaineers scorer Tynice Martin to only 10 points on 3-for-18 shooting. Martin averaged 18.9 points per game this year.

The victory in their final game at XFINITY Center served as a nice sendoff for both Jones and Walker-Kimbrough.

“They had to fight and claw and scratch. That’s what they had to do in their career so it’s only fitting how this game unfolded,” Frese said. “It’s a fitting way to send them out of College Park and into Bridgeport.”

Kristen Confroy also topped double-digits with 11 points. Confroy and Slocum both hit three 3-pointers in the game. Walker-Kimbrough had the other two for Maryland.

Maryland advances to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the 13th time and eighth time under Frese. They will play the winner of Monday night’s game between second-seeded Duke and 10th-seeded Oregon in Bridgeport, Connecticut on Saturday, March 25.

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Charlie Wright

Staff Writer
Charlie is a lifelong sports fan who grew up cheering for hometown teams. He developed a passion for writing in high school and chose to pursue the profession in college. Charlie followed most of his family to the University of Maryland, where he is pursuing a degree in journalism. He plans to enter the sports journalism field after graduation, hopefully covering a local team.

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