The Nebraska women’s basketball team is hoping to ride the momentum of Sunday’s 67-61 victory over Purdue into College Park, Maryland on Thursday, Feb. 14 when it will take on the seventh-ranked Maryland Terrapins.
The Huskers are looking to earn a season split with the Terrapins, as the Huskers lost in Lincoln 81-63 to Maryland on Jan. 8. In that matchup, junior Kaila Charles led Maryland in scoring with 19 points while Nebraska juniors Hannah Whitish and Nicea Eliely each scored nine points to lead the Huskers.
Maryland has historically had Nebraska’s number, defeating the Huskers the previous 10 times the teams have played. If Nebraska (11-13, 6-7 Big Ten) wants to notch their first win against the Terrapins, another big day from freshman forward Leigha Brown is needed. Brown, who scored a career-high 30 points against Purdue, is NU’s leading scorer and will look to contribute heavily off the bench for the Huskers on Thursday.
The No. 7 Terrapins (22-2, 11-2 Big Ten) have won their last seven games in a row, including a 62-48 road victory against No. 20 Rutgers.
Maryland is a deep team with strengths at every position on the floor, but the Terrapins’ biggest asset is their strong backcourt. Freshman guard Taylor Mikesell averages 14 points and 3.4 assists per game while Charles averages 16 points and 2.3 assists.
Nebraska will also need to slow down freshman forward Shakira Austin, who collected seven points and 10 rebounds in the teams’ first meeting. Sophomore center Kate Cain will be tasked with slowing down Austin, who averages 8.6 rebounds and 10 points per game.
Husker sophomore Taylor Kissinger, the 24th best 3-point shooter in the country, looks to rebound from an 0-2 day beyond the arc against the Boilermakers. Great 3-point shooting is key to an upset, and the Huskers will need Kissinger, who is a 43.6% 3-point shooter, to make some shots throughout the game if they want to hang with the Terrapins.
The NU offense may not get many second chances to score, as the Terrapins lead the Big Ten with a +10.7 rebounding margin and bring down 30 defensive rebounds per game, the seventh-best total in the country.
The Huskers will rely on Cain (6.1 rebounds per game) and freshman forwards Kayla Mershon (2.8 RPG) and Ashtyn Veerbeek (5.6 RPG) to grab rebounds and give the Huskers second chances on offense.
With a victory on Thursday, the Terrapins would improve their home record to 12-1 on the season. They would continue to ride their hot streak into a showdown on Sunday, Feb. 17 against the No. 14 Iowa Hawkeyes, the second-place team in the Big Ten.
The Hawkeyes are the last ranked team on Maryland’s schedule before the Big Ten tournament, and a win against them would significantly bolster the Terrapins’ odds for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
For the Huskers, a win on Thursday would give momentum to the team for the rest of the season. NU still has two home games remaining against ranked opponents, and a win against Maryland would give the Huskers confidence to finish the season strong. Additionally, the Huskers would move out of the Big Ten’s bottom four with a win and temporarily avoid playing on the first night of the Big Ten conference tournament.
Thursday’s game tips off at 7 p.m. at the XFINITY Center in College Park, Maryland. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.