Brionna Jones' production during her senior season at Maryland has earned her a spot on midseason watch lists for several major college basketball awards. The center's performance during the week of Jan. 9-15 will enhance her status as one of the sport's top players.
Jones earned National Player of the Week awards from espnW, the United States Basketball Writers Association and the Naismith Trophy after leading the Terps to a pair of Big Ten victories. The 6-foot-3 standout from Havre de Grace, Md., tied a school single-game record with 42 points and also grabbed 14 rebounds as Maryland held off Penn State, 89-83, at Xfinity Center Jan. 11. Three days later, Jones' 25-point, 10-rebound performance helped the Terps finish off host Iowa, 96-82.
Jones, who also earned the Big Ten's Player of the Week award for the third time this season, averaged 33.5 points and 12.0 rebounds between the two games, as Maryland remained unbeaten in conference play at 5-0. Jones also leads the Big Ten with 12 double-double performances this season and has reached that mark during each of the Terps' last eight games.
"I was kind of surprised," said Jones of her multiple national honors. "There were a lot of great performances last week, like Tori Jankoska at Michigan State (42 points in a win against Ohio State Jan. 10), so I'm really honored."
Jones leads the Terps in scoring (19.5 points), rebounding (10.4), steals (2.1) and blocked shots (1.4). She ranks fourth among NCAA Division I players with a .684 field-goal percentage. Jones' 42-point effort against Penn State tied guard/forward Marissa Coleman's school single-game record, which was set against Vanderbilt March 28, 2009. Jones scored 14 of her 42 points in the second quarter to help Maryland gain a 44-39 halftime lead.
The Terps jumped to an early lead at Iowa, but a second-quarter rally gave the Hawkeyes a 47-43 halftime edge. Jones took over in the second half, scoring 15 of her 25 points to spark Maryland to its 17th win in 18 games this season and its 14th consecutive Big Ten victory dating to the 2015-16 campaign.
"Against Penn State, I was more focused on just getting the win," Jones said. "Initially, they weren't double-teaming me as much as I'm used to. With Iowa, I had in the back of my mind the game against Washington (a 2016 NCAA tournament loss). That was added motivation to pull out the win."
Jones and her senior teammate, guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, are among the 25 players on the midseason watch list for the John R. Wooden Award, which is college basketball's most prestigious honor. Jones and Walker-Kimbrough are also on watch lists for the Wade Trophy and the Naismith Trophy and are among 30 candidates for the NCAA's Senior CLASS award.
During her fourth season as a starter, Jones has continued to move up on several Maryland career lists. The Aberdeen High School graduate ranks 13th in scoring (1,582 points), fifth in rebounding (1,017) and sixth in blocked shots (132). Jones is approaching the level of excellence set by such recent Maryland standouts as Coleman, center/forward Crystal Langhorne, guard Kristi Toliver, forward/center Laura Harper and Jones' former forward teammate, Alyssa Thomas.
"It's an honor to be mentioned with them and to continue the legacy that they started," said Jones, who will lead the third-ranked Terps into upcoming Big Ten home games against Michigan Jan. 19 and Rutgers Jan. 22.