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Terps roll through Bucknell in Round of 64, 103-61

By: Charlie Wright

Bucknell threw double teams against Brionna Jones all day but couldn’t slow her down even a little bit.

It didn’t take long for the Maryland Terrapins women’s basketball team to show their superiority as they cruised to a 103-61 victory over the 14th-seeded Bucknell Bison on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. And of course, it was the senior All-American duo Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones leading the way.

The seniors combined for 53 points and the Terps notched their seventh consecutive first-round NCAA tournament victory. Every Maryland player scored and pulled down a rebound. Sune Swart scored 14 points to pace the Bison, which earned an automatic bid after winning the Patriot League tournament. The third-seeded Terps will move on to play sixth-seeded West Virginia on Sunday. The Mountaineers beat Elon in the first round, 75-72.

Walker-Kimbrough struggled in Maryland’s Big Ten championship victory over Purdue, finishing with just seven points, but got off to a quick start against Bucknell. She outscored the entire Bucknell squad for most of the first half, and she and Jones accounted for Maryland’s first 20 points.

“That’s part of me and Bri’s role, not this game but every game, to come out and set the tone,” Walker-Kimbrough said. “We were the first tip in the NCAA tournament today, so we definitely wanted to set the tone.”

The Terps capitalized on six first quarter turnovers by Bucknell, including a steal and layup by Walker-Kimbrough. Bucknell struggled with the Maryland pressure for most of the game and finished with 20 turnovers versus five for the Terps. Jones overpowered the Bison in the paint for most of the second quarter, with 10 of her 25 points coming in the period. The Bison threw a few double teams at her, which led to open jumpers or fouls inside.

“They made their presence felt,” Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell said. “Especially in the first half, those two took over. We didn’t have a real answer.”

Maryland head coach Brenda Frese emptied her bench midway through the third quarter. She was able to limit the minutes of her starters, a luxury the Terps didn’t have in last year’s tournament. The veterans were able to kick-start the squad, and then turn it over to the inexperienced players.

“We were led by our two seniors,” Frese said. “That experience factor, that’s what you have to have, especially for your first NCAA tournament game. It allowed our younger players to get comfortable.”

The performances by Walker-Kimbrough and Jones are important for taking the pressure of off one young player, in particular, point guard Destiny Slocum. The Freshman of the Year in the conference is the third-leading scoring on the team, but she’s well behind the two seniors. Yet, she was relied on heavily in Maryland’s two losses, taking a combined 36 shots against Connecticut and Ohio State despite averaging less than 10 shots per game.

The matchup against the Huskies is of particular note, as the Terps could potentially meet the top overall seed in the Elite Eight. Jones managed just seven shots in the 87-81 loss, and Walker-Kimbrough was held to 10 points.

Slocum is a legitimate scorer, but she is far more effective as a distributor and ancillary offensive piece. She’s also competing in her first NCAA tournament, and it may be dangerous to lean on a guard in that situation. The Terps will look to lighten her burden down the stretch and look to Walker-Kimbrough and Jones to carry the team to a third Final Four appearances in four seasons.

Maryland earned a double-digit lead six minutes into the game and when a three-point play by Jones put Maryland back up by 10 points at 20-10 with 3:07 remaining in the first quarter, Bucknell never got it back to single digits.

Maryland led 22-10 at the end of the first quarter and used a 15-2 run in the second quarter to pull away for a 25-point lead with 35 seconds left before halftime.

Even after turning to their bench, Maryland continued to grow their lead as they shot a remarkable 70.6-percent from the floor in the second half. For the game, they made 42-of-72 shots from the floor. They also outscored Bucknell 60-20 in the paint.

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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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