For the first time in school history, Nebraska women’s basketball earned a victory over Maryland on Sunday. The No. 20 Terrapins led the series with a 15-0 record coming into the matchup, but the Huskers snapped that record in dominant fashion, 90-67.
Here are three takeaways and a question from the victory:
Jaz Shelley lights up the court once again
One player that the Huskers rely on regularly is junior guard Jaz Shelley, who averaged 13.1 points per game a season ago. However, Shelley was relatively quiet at the start of this season. That was until her 32-point outing against Mississippi State last week, which guided Nebraska to victory.
Shelley delivered another monstrous performance in the win over Maryland, finishing with 29 points. Shelley was the only Husker to play the entire game and managed to go 10-of-17 from the field and 6-of-10 from 3-point range.
Without senior guard Sam Haiby playing regularly, Nebraska needs everything from its team to help fill the void. Shelley without a doubt has taken on the bulk of the responsibility of filling that playmaking void, thanks to her performances against Mississippi State and Maryland. If she continues to produce games like these, Nebraska will have a shot at righting the ship and meeting preseason expectations.
Offensive aggression pays off
Shelley was the team leader in scoring and shooting, but Nebraska’s offense produced arguably its best performance of the season alongside her. The team went 30-of-60 from the field and 12-of-25 from 3-point range. This blew Maryland out of the water as the Terrapins only finished 24-of-60 from the field and 4-of-16 from 3-point range.
It was this aggression from the Huskers that gave them the advantage over the Terrapins. Nebraska stayed with Maryland throughout the first half, trailing 36-31 by the end. However, the Huskers came out on fire in the second half, outscoring the Terrapins 59-31 to claim victory.
It’s the same aggression for the Huskers that has proved the key factor in their wins. Nebraska is now 5-0 this season when it finishes with double-digit 3-pointers and 6-0 when above .400 from the field. However, Nebraska’s aggression can only go as long as it delivers. The Huskers are 1-3 this season when scoring single-digit 3-pointers in a game and 0-3 when its shooting percentage is below .400.
The Huskers respond following a devastating loss to No. 9 Virginia Tech
The Huskers already had a difficult challenge with Maryland, considering they never won a game against the Terrapins. But Nebraska was coming off its worst loss of the season, falling to another east coast opponent, No. 9 Virginia Tech, 85-54. So it seems fair to say Nebraska could have been at a low point.
The Huskers’ win over Maryland shows that the loss to the Hokies was in fact an eye-opener for them. Nebraska previously lost to No. 20 Creighton and Drake which led to three-straight wins before playing Virginia Tech. Now with a major win over Maryland under the Huskers’ belt, it has an opportunity to build upon it.
What direction will Nebraska head from here?
This win for Nebraska marks a major stepping stone in the potential it has in this young season. The Huskers’ ranked win comes exactly one month earlier than their first ranked win last season, when they took down No. 8 Michigan on Jan. 4.
But that win came after Nebraska suffered its first loss of the season to Michigan State days earlier. The Huskers were 13-1 after defeating the Wolverines. Nebraska ended the 2021-2022 season as a Big Ten semi-finalist and earned a ticket to the NCAA tournament.
This season, Nebraska stands at 6-3, with two of its losses coming at the hands of ranked teams. But this win can certainly be the start of another big season for the Huskers. Nebraska hasn’t enjoyed as hot of a start as it did last year, but all of its goals are still in front of it.
Only time will tell as to where things could be heading for the Huskers.