Nebraska basketball traveled to No. 20 Maryland knowing it would be a big test for the team Thursday night.
Going into the game, all five of Maryland’s starters averaged scoring in double digits. The Terrapins had sparks on both the defensive and offensive side. The senior guard Kaila Charles was the 2019 Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year and a Preseason AP All-American. She was a threat all night and went on to score a team-high 23 points.
Allowing the Terrapins to go on long runs in both the first quarter and fourth quarter crushed the Huskers as they were handed their second loss in a row, with a final score of 69-87. Maryland now leads the all-time series 12-0, with no losses to Nebraska.
It was a tight game throughout most of the first quarter. The game was tied at 12 with a little over three minutes to go. However, the Terrapins (13-4, 4-2 Big Ten) had a huge momentum swing to end the quarter and went on a 16-2 run. Freshman guard Diamond Miller hit a 3-pointer and Nebraska (13-4, 3-3 Big Ten) senior guard Hannah Whitish attempted to respond with a 3-pointer of her own, but it didn’t fall in.
The Terrapins’ continuous scoring caused a timeout to be called by Huskers head coach Amy Williams with 51 seconds left in the quarter. After the timeout in the last 30 seconds of the half, senior guard Nicea Eliely hit a shot behind the arc. The Huskers ended the quarter down by nine, with a score of 26-17.
Eliely tied her career-high in the game with 19 points. Sophomore forward Leigha Brown also put in 19 points of her own to share the team-high for the game with Eliely. Whitish joined the two in the double digits, adding 10 points.
The Huskers started out the second quarter with sophomore forward Ashtyn Veerbeek putting a basket in, assisted by sophomore guard Sam Haiby, who led the team with seven total assists. The Terrapins then proceeded to go on a short run to increase their lead to 31-19.
Mid-second quarter, Whitish hit two important 3-pointers, bringing the score to 25-32 with about six-and-a-half minutes to go in the half. Haiby also hit a shot from behind the arc with a little over three minutes to go. However, the Husker offense didn’t seem to be making any gains on the Terrapins. Anytime Nebraska scored, Maryland answered right away.
At halftime, the score was 34-43, so Nebraska was still trailing by nine.
Veerbeek opened up the third quarter with a 3-pointer. Within the next minute, Whitish had a long pass to freshman forward Isabelle Bourne for a layup.
Although the Huskers had these big plays, the Terrapins continued to hold control of the game. Maryland took advantage of every opportunity and consistently racked up points throughout. The Terrapins are one of the best rebounding teams in the conference and they used that to their advantage, allowing very little second chance shots.
Junior center Kate Cain led the Huskers with eight rebounds on the night.
Towards the end of the third, Brown hit a layup followed by a made 3-pointer to make the score 55-61 at the end of the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Nebraska didn’t score in the first two-and-a-half minutes. The offensive silence was only broken by a Brown free throw. With six-and-a-half minutes to go, Whitish assisted a Bourne layup.
The game began to slip out of Nebraska’s grasp within the last half of the fourth quarter. With under four minutes left to play, the score stood at 62-77.
The last spark for the Huskers was a Brown 3-pointer to bring her to 19 points. However, Maryland followed that up with two made 3-pointers to bring the game to the final score.
Finishing games was a consistent problem for the Huskers last season and it was an issue for the team tonight with the game being close enough to close the gap entering the fourth quarter.
Nebraska will return to the court on Sunday, January 19, to face Michigan at Pinnacle Bank Arena beginning at 4 p.m.