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Mystics select Maryland's Shatori Walker-Kimbrough in WNBA Draft, Brionna Jones also taken in the 1st Round

Mystics select Maryland's Shatori Walker-Kimbrough in WNBA Draft, Brionna Jones also taken in the 1st Round

BY TYLER BYRUM (@theTylerByrum)

For the sixth straight year, a Maryland Terrapin has been taken in the WNBA Draft. This draft though marks the third time ever that two Terps, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones, were selected in the First Round.

With the sixth overall pick (traded from the Seattle Storm), the Washington Mystics decided to select a local talent, Walker-Kimbrough. The three time All-Big Ten First Team selection will go down as one of the best  guards to ever dawn a Maryland jersey even with the team's illustrious history. At 5'11", she holds the Terps all-time three point shooting percentage mark and is the program's second all-time leading scorer. This past season, which ended in a Sweet 16 run for the team, the AP Third Team All-American was named one of the 15 finalists for the Wooden Award as the national player of the year.

To get the Maryland standout, the Mystics acquired Seattle’s first round pick back in January that was part of a three-team trade. By Washington sending Bria Hartley and Kia Vaughn to the Liberty, the Storm acquired Carolyn Swords and thus sending their pick to the Mystics. 

Walker-Kimbrough is just another weapon added to the Mystics roster this off-season. Alongside the versatile Elena Delle-Donne, the Maryland grad will be yet another player opponents will have to matchup against, especially when second units are put on the court. Her offense will be huge for a team that had the third worst offensive numbers in the league, but her defense will add to the physicality the Mystics display on the court. 

Another former Terp (who guided Maryland to an NCAA title) and WNBA champion, Kristi Toliver also was picked up this past off-season by the Mystics after she won a title with the Sparks in 2016. Tianna Hawkins, a 2013 Maryland grad, is also listed on the team's roster.

Other selections for the Mystics in the 2017 draft include Jennie Simms from Old Dominion (18th overall) and Mehryn Kraker from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (27th overall).

Not too long after Walker-Kimbrough was taken, Jones was selected by the Connecticut Sun as the eighth overall pick of the draft. As a 6'3" center she lead the NCAA in field goal percentage the past two seasons. In the Big Ten, she currently holds the conference best career field goal percentage. She was also a finalist for the Wooden Award this past year, while being named an AP First Team All-American.

For the Sun, Jones will be a huge addition to their interior defense who allowed opponents to score 84.3 ppg, the third highest in the WNBA. She will also look to boost their offensive rebounding numbers as it is anticipated she will have to come off the bench. 

This draft is the first since 2009 that Maryland had two First Round picks, the team also saw two first rounders the year prior in 2008.

The overall number one pick of the draft was Washington's Kelsey Plum, who set the NCAA scoring record for points all-time and in a single season. She is heading to the worst offense in the WNBA, the San Antonio Stars. 

MORE MYSTICS: Delle-Donne joins John Wall and Bradley Beal for photoshoot

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Palmer's big 2nd half lifts Huskers past Maryland

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Palmer's big 2nd half lifts Huskers past Maryland

LINCOLN, Neb. -- James Palmer Jr. scored 24 of his 26 points in the second half, Isaiah Roby had all 11 of his after half, and Nebraska held off Maryland 70-66 on Tuesday night.

Palmer and Roby combined for 35 of the Cornhuskers' 40 second-half points, and they secured their first 20-win season since 2008. They won a sixth straight conference game for the first time in 20 years.

Palmer scored 15 straight points for the Huskers (20-8, 11-4 Big Ten) over a 10-minute span that ended when Roby hit one of two free throws with 2:57 left for a 64-59 lead. Roby had a double-double, with 10 rebounds, and he also blocked three shots.

The Terps (17-11, 6-9) had a chance to take the lead with a minute to play, but Glynn Watson Jr. blocked Anthony Cowan Jr.'s 3-point try, Evan Taylor came up with the loose ball and got it to Watson.

Watson missed a 3-pointer coming out of a timeout, and Roby got the rebound and was immediately fouled. He made both free throws for a 66-63 lead. Kevin Huerter's layin cut it to one point before Watson made two free throws.

Huerter went to the line with 2.8 seconds left, and after making the first free throw he intentionally missed the second. Palmer got the rebound, was fouled and put the game away with two free throws.

Bruno Fernando led the Terps with 21 points and nine rebounds. Huerter added 12 points and Darryl Morsell had 11.

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: The Terps' fading NCAA Tournament hopes might have been dashed with their seventh straight road loss.

Nebraska: The Huskers are resting firmly on the NCAA bubble and absolutely needed this win. They got it, thanks to Palmer and Roby's efforts in the second half.

UP NEXT

Maryland hosts Rutgers on Saturday. It's the teams' only meeting this season.

Nebraska visits Illinois. The Huskers beat the Illini 64-63 in Lincoln on Jan. 15.

RELATED: DMV College Basketball Power Rankings: Missed opportunities

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Maryland overwhelmed by Penn State in close loss

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USA TODAY Sports

Maryland overwhelmed by Penn State in close loss

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Lamar Stevens feels like he's playing his most consistent basketball right now, a bad omen for upcoming opponents considering Penn State expects its hybrid forward to do a little bit of everything.

Just like he did on Wednesday.

Stevens scored 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting with 14 in the second half to lift Penn State over Maryland 74-70.

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"Lamar really stepped up for us," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "We needed every one of those points that he had tonight."

Tony Carr added 16 points, Josh Reaves scored 14, and Mike Watkins added 11 for the Nittany Lions (17-9, 7-6 Big Ten Conference), who equaled their previous best mark for conference victories under Chambers.

"The best teams always find ways to win," Stevens said. "We locked down when we had to, got huge stops, huge rebounds and I think that's a huge step for this team."

With Maryland (16-10, 5-8) up 20-14 midway through the first half, Stevens nailed his first of two 3-pointers to spark a quick 9-0 run that helped Penn State take control.

He rolled layups off his fingers and sank midrange jumpers on multiple back-to-back possessions in the second half, where he scored 11 of his team's first 20 points.

"He made some incredible, incredible shots," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "He was terrific, he was so efficient."

Stevens added four rebounds, two assists and was 3-for-4 on free throws with all three makes coming in the final 5:48 as Maryland threatened.

MORE TERPS: MARYLAND STILL CONSIDERED BY MANY BRACKETOLOGISTS

Anthony Cowan Jr. led Maryland with 15 points while Kevin Huerter and Bruno Fernando added 13 apiece.

Darryl Morsell had 10 points for the Terrapins, who cut a 10-point deficit with 8:11 to play to just three with 1:13 left.

"I didn't think we competed in the first half defensively," Turgeon said. "I thought in the second half, we were really trying hard."

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: The Terrapins' disappointing season continues and they have dropped to 7-7 since stalwart forward Justin Jackson's season was ended by a torn shoulder ligament in late December. Although they shot better than their season average, the Terrapins were badly outplayed in the paint, getting outscored 32-22 and outrebounded 27-23.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions are playing an exciting brand of basketball as of late. They have a combined 22 dunks over their last three home games and opponents are finding it hard to play fast against a team that thrives on speed.