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No. 5 Maryland women rebound from defeat with 73-59 win over Purdue

Maryland's Shatori Walker-Kimbrough shoots over Purdue's Bree Horocks, left, during the second half.
Maryland's Shatori Walker-Kimbrough shoots over Purdue's Bree Horocks, left, during the second half. (Gail Burton / Associated Press)

The fifth-ranked Maryland women's basketball team produced one of its sloppiest performances of the season the last time out, so entering Thursday's game against Purdue, players vowed to be more mindful of ball security.

The Terrapins hardly ditched their proclivity for turnovers, but a spirited defensive effort most of the way along with supremacy inside and a lopsided free throw margin were enough to secure a 73-59 victory in front of an announced crowd of 3,646 at Xfinity Center.

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Maryland (22-3, 11-2) swept the season series against the Boilermakers, won for the 10th time in 11 games and retained its hold on second place in the Big Ten three days after losing to No. 7 Ohio State, 94-86, in Columbus. Unlike in that game when the Terrapins committed 23 turnovers, they were able to overcome 20 this time thanks in part to limiting Purdue to 36 percent shooting.

"Any time you can bounce back how we did and get a quality win over a top five opponent in conference is a great thing," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "Excited about the toughness that we had to come back and be resilient. We made plays at the right time. Obviously some areas we have to improve on, turnovers being the big one for us."

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough led Maryland with a game-high 23 points, going 3-for-4 on 3-pointers, and seven rebounds. She also sank six of seven free throws as part of the Terrapins' 18-of-21 showing (86 percent) at the line, including 13 for 15 in the second half. The Boilermakers (16-8, 7-6) shot seven free throws overall in losing their third in a row. They've also lost to Maryland five straight times.

Walker-Kimbrough scored 11 of Maryland's 14 points bridging the halves to help the Terrapins forge a 46-33 lead with 4 minutes 44 seconds left in the third quarter. The junior guard finished with 64 points this season against the Boilermakers. Her 41 points in the first meeting, an 87-67 triumph on Feb. 2, were one short of the school record Marissa Coleman set in 2009.

Walker-Kimbrough, who leads the country in 3-point field goal percentage, has scored at least 23 points in five of the last seven games. Her 71 points combined over two games during that stretch set a Maryland record.

"We've got to get back to our standard and playing to that standard consistently," Walker-Kimbrough said. "I know we can do it. I mean it's not an easy thing, but I think if we focus on playing at that consistent level, I think we'll be good."

Brionna Jones added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the junior center's 13th double double this season and the 28th of her career. The Big Ten's leader in field goal percentage made five of 10 shots for her 14th game in a row scoring in double figures. Jones also played a major role in Maryland's 14-4 advantage in second-chance points and 45-35 rebounding margin.

The closest Purdue got in the fourth quarter was 66-59 on Ashley Morrissette's three-pointer with 1:42 left in the game. But the Terrapins pushed their advantage back to double digits when senior point guard Chloe Pavlech moments later made a three-pointer. Maryland's largest lead in a game it never trailed was 16 points.

"It's always a good feeling to come back and get a win against another great opponent," Jones said. "I think we've just got to come into the next game with the same mind-set and work hard to get back to our standard."

Two runs in the first half enabled Maryland to build its first double-digit lead. The first of those came in the first quarter, with senior forward Malina Howard's jumper triggering a 10-3 burst. Walker-Kimbrough and freshman forward Kiah Gillespie each scored on driving layups, and two more field goals bumped the lead to eight points.

The next flurry began early in the second quarter on consecutive offensive rebound putbacks from Jones. Freshman forward Brianna Fraser made a pair of free throws, and Jones scored on a layup. When Fraser sank one of two free throws and followed with a layup, the Terrapins were in front, 32-22, with 4:18 remaining until intermission.

Fraser and Gillespie each entered earlier than usual as Frese continues to get reserves more playing time entering the final weeks of the regular season. It also provided the starters with an opportunity for at least a bit of rest with Maryland playing four games in 10 days, although its next three are against teams in the bottom half of the conference standings.

"It's not always who you're playing but when you play them," Boilermakers coach Sharon Versyp said. "I know they lost to Ohio State so they would be really focused."

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