As the longest-tenured member of the fifth-ranked Maryland women’s basketball team, Brene Moseley has witnessed her share of memorable individual performances. Among those that stand out the most were Alyssa Thomas’s four career triple-doubles and Tianna Hawkins’s 24 rebounds in a game, both school records.
On Tuesday night, Moseley was part of another milestone, sharing the court with Shatori Walker-Kimbrough as the junior guard scored a career-high 41 points during an 87-67 win against Purdue. Walker-Kimbrough finished one point from matching Marissa Coleman’s program record set in 2009 and scored the most points by any player in a Big Ten game this season.
Entering Friday’s showdown with No. 17 Michigan State at Xfinity Center, Walker-Kimbrough is averaging 19 points per game, tops on Maryland and eighth in the Big Ten. Maryland (20-2, 9-1) is a half-game behind No. 7 Ohio State, with the teams set to meet Monday in Columbus, Ohio.
“It honestly left me speechless,” said Moseley, who assisted on one of Walker-Kimbrough’s 17 field goals in 21 attempts. “I’ve watched a lot. I’ve seen Tianna and Alyssa get 20 and 30, but nothing as effortless as that was. There was such a flow to it, so definitely one of the best performances I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”
Walker-Kimbrough made her first five field goals before missing a three-pointer with 4 minutes 12 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Still, she wound up with 24 points at the half, just two off her career high at the time. Walker-Kimbrough had 30 points with 3:17 to go in the third quarter and completed her night with a three-pointer with 1:12 left.
The first-team all-Big Ten selection last season made 16 of 17 (94 percent) two-point field goal attempts against the Boilermakers and is shooting 57 percent overall this season, which ranks fifth in the conference. Walker-Kimbrough continues to lead the country in three-point field goal percentage (57.1) and is within reach of the Division I singleseason record (57.5).
“It’s right up there, especially when you talk about how efficient she was,” Maryland Coach Brenda Frese said when asked how Walker-Kimbrough’s performance compares to that of other notable players in program history. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 17 for 21 from the field. She so deserves it because she’s put so much time into her game.”
Frese recalled the recruiting process when Walker-Kimbrough was deciding between Maryland and Duquesne, which is near her home town of Aliquippa, Pa. There were times, Frese said, when Walker-Kimbrough was uncertain if she was skilled enough to play for the Terrapins and perhaps was leaning toward Duquesne.
But Frese convinced her otherwise, and Walker-Kimbrough became a top reserve as a freshman in helping Maryland advance to the Final Four. Last season, Walker-Kimbrough started all 37 games, and the Terrapins reached the Final Four for the third time in 10 years. They also went undefeated in the Big Ten in their first season as a member of the conference.
“I was feeling pretty good. My teammates were giving me confidence,” Walker-Kimbrough said of the second 40-point game in school history. “Bri [Jones] and Malina [Howard] set great screens for me. Point guards and other guards found me off those screens, making great passes. It was just a matter of I got hot early, and they continued to feed me throughout the rest of the game.”
Walker-Kimbrough is averaging nearly 21 points during Maryland’s eight-game winning streak that began five days after the Terrapins fell to Ohio State, 80-71, in College Park. Since then Maryland has beaten three teams in the top half of the Big Ten standings as well as Northwestern, which was receiving votes in the Associated Press top 25 at the time of the Terrapins’ 80-62 win Jan. 17.
Friday’s game against the Spartans (17-4, 8-2), who are in third place in the conference, is a makeup from Jan. 23, when blizzard conditions grounded all flights in and out of local airports. Maryland is 6-0 all-time against Michigan State, including winning three games last season.
“We had a stretch to start conference play where we had three games in six days,” Frese said. “Now we’re three in seven, two of the three being on the road, so I want to see how far we’ve come in that progression. Obviously, two phenomenal teams in the upper part of the league that we have next on the schedule.”