No. 3 Maryland women roll past Illinois, 84-59
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Known for its high-powered offense, No. 3 Maryland put on a show at the other end of the court in a blowout victory over Illinois.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 29 points and the Terrapins cranked up the defense Thursday night in an 84-59 rout that kept them unbeaten in the Big Ten.
Off to the best start in school history, Maryland (24-1, 12-0) led 40-20 at halftime and coasted to its 12th straight victory.
After scoring the first two baskets of the second quarter, Illinois added only one more field goal over the next 6 1/2 minutes.
"For us to have a chance, we had to finish the first half better," Illinois coach Matt Bollant said. "Give them a lot of credit. We didn't get great looks. We didn't get any type of rhythm going because they defended so well."
Maryland came in with a nation-leading 90.3 points per game average, but most of the big plays in this one were made on the defensive end. The Terrapins limited the Illini to 34 percent shooting and finished with a 53-31 rebounding advantage.
If the Terrapins intend to play deep into March, it's up to their defense to take them there.
"That's an area we're emphasizing," coach Brenda Frese said. "We're really starting to lock in, in terms of how you have play on both ends of the floor."
Brionna Jones had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Terrapins, her 50th career double-double. Jones, a 6-foot-3 senior, passed Tianna Hawkins to move into fourth place on the school career list with 1,090 rebounds.
In addition, Walker-Kimbrough climbed into fifth place on the school scoring list with 1,934 points, passing Vicky Bullett.
Alex Wittinger led Illinois (8-17, 3-9) with 15 points. Freshman Brandi Beasley, the team's leading scorer, missed her first nine shots and finished with 10 points on 3-for-19 shooting
The Illini have lost seven straight, including a 94-49 drubbing at home by Maryland on Jan. 26. In the rematch, Illinois tried to slow the pace and were cautious of the Terrapins' potent fast break.
That brand of basketball proved futile against a team that hasn't lost in 2017.
"What a great basketball team," Bollant said. "I have a lot of admiration for what they do and how they do it. They should up every night."
Content to wait for a good shot, Maryland had 25 assists on its 31 baskets. Freshman Destiny Slocum had a season-best 13 assists and just two turnovers.
Walker-Kimbrough scored seven points in an early 16-2 run that put the Terrapins in front 20-7.
Maryland led 26-12 after the first quarter, getting assists on eight of its 10 baskets and outrebounding Illinois 16-6.
That was a prelude to the pivotal second quarter.
"I thought we were able to really dominate in that stretch," Frese said.
Beasley scored 28, 21 and 20 points in her previous three games before running cold against Maryland.
"I felt like she probably settled for too many jump shots in the first half," Bollant said. "Part of that was Maryland's length."
Illinois: With seven freshmen on the roster, the youthful Illini treat every game as a learning experience. In this one, they got schooled (again) by Maryland.
Maryland: The Terrapins slipped into cruise-control early and executed well enough on both ends to win easily. With No. 2 Baylor losing to Texas on Monday, Maryland can move up a notch by getting past Michigan State on Sunday.
Illinois: The Illini host Penn State on Tuesday night. Illinois lost to the Lady Lions 82-66 on Jan. 29 despite getting 28 points from Beasley.
Maryland: The Terrapins' game at Michigan State is the only meeting between the teams during the regular season.
Updated February 9, 2017