No. 20 Maryland women’s basketball will host Nebraska in a Big Ten clash at the XFINITY Center in College Park, Maryland. Tipoff is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. and can be streamed on Big Ten Plus.
The Terps (7-2) are coming off an invigorating 74-72 victory over No. 7 Notre Dame on Thursday at the Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Indiana. Senior guard Diamond Miller silenced the crowd with a one-legged jump shot for Maryland’s second victory over a ranked opponent. The Terps are on a three-game winning streak with Miller leading a squad gaining chemistry by the minute. Maryland looks to pick up its first conference victory of the season, as it plays in its home arena for the first time since Nov. 16.
Nebraska recently traveled to the DMV for a tilt with No. 9 Virginia Tech on Thursday. The Cornhuskers were defeated handily, 85-54, after relinquishing a 50% field goal percentage and a 41% average from 3-point range. With their recent loss, they are being outscored 242-167 in their three blemishes this season. Nebraska will hope to end its two-game road trip with its first ranked victory.
This pair of Big Ten foes met last season on senior day in College Park, with the Terps cruising to an 80-65 home victory. Maryland has a perfect 15-0 series lead over Nebraska and will aim to extend its advantage in front of its home fans on Sunday.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-3, 0-0 Big Ten)
2021-22 record: 24-9 (11-7 Big Ten)
Head coach Amy Williams enters her seventh season roaming the Nebraska sideline. Williams is coming off her best season in 2021 for the Cornhuskers, posting an impressive 24-9 record. Last season, Nebraska fell 68-55 to Gonzaga in the first round of the NCAA Tournament after failing to qualify the year before.
The South Dakota native helped Nebraska lead the conference in rebounds last season with 41.8 per game and limited opposing offenses to 38.5% shooting from the field.
She has had three winning seasons in her time on campus and displayed the ability to lead a formidable Big Ten program.
Through eight games this season, Williams’ squad has three losses. Nebraska’s notable defeat came in a 77-51 rout by No. 20 Creighton on Nov. 15.
Williams will look to continue leading a program that was a win shy from a Big Ten championship game appearance during the 2021-22 season.
Players to know
Alexis Markowski, sophomore center/forward, six-foot-three, No. 40 — Prior to the season, Markowski was named to the Lisa Leslie Award Watch List, and it’s not hard to see why. Markowski is enjoying a successful sophomore campaign, as she leads Nebraska in points (12.6) and rebounds (9.3) per game. The agile big recorded an impressive stat line versus Tarleton State with 24 points and 18 rebounds in the Cornhuskers’ 71-53 victory on Nov. 26.
Jaz Shelley, sophomore guard, five-foot-nine, No. 1 — Shelley is a crafty guard who isn’t afraid to battle for rebounds. Last season, she registered six double-doubles in a solid freshman campaign. In Nebraska’s 73-65 overtime victory over Mississippi State on Nov. 26, Shelley exploded to the tune of 32 points and eight assists. Nebraska’s floor general has dished out at least five assists in seven of eight games this season. Shelley has shown the potential to make plays for others and that will be paramount for the Cornhuskers to pull off the upset.
Isabelle Bourne, junior forward, six-foot-two, No. 34 — The Australian native ranks third on the team with 11.3 points per game, snagging 7.6 rebounds per contest. Bourne recorded a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds in Nebraska’s 85-54 loss to Virginia Tech. The junior forward crashes the boards with a vengeance, evidenced by her three games with at least 10 rebounds this season.
Rebounding. Nebraska is fourth in the Big Ten with 41.4 rebounds per game. The Cornhuskers have four players who average at least five rebounds per game. This Big Ten team makes a conscientious effort to crash the glass aggressively on both ends. Finding a way to box out and close defensive possessions would bode well for Maryland’s chances of securing its third home victory.
Free throws. The Cornhuskers are 11th in the Big Ten with a 68.7% free throw percentage. As the season progresses, games may be decided by the team that cashes in at the charity stripe. The majority of Nebraska’s free throw attempts come from three players — Markowski, Shelley and Allison Weidner — so it will be worth monitoring if the others can draw contact.
Three things to watch
- How will Maryland respond following a thrilling victory? The Terps’ 74-72 late game victory over No. 7 Notre Dame required an exorbitant amount of resolve and focus. Miller led the Terps to several countless offensive possessions with superb execution. With a team lacking the experience of playing with one another, securing a top-10 road victory infuses confidence into the athletes donning a Maryland jersey. There are instances where teams come out flat following a big win and the Terps will look to buck that trend at home.
- Will Diamond Miller keep scorching the competition? If there was any debate if Diamond Miller was the real deal, she silenced the doubters with a dominant performance versus Notre Dame. Miller’s 31 points and 12 rebounds were needed for the Terps to secure the road upset. As Miller and Maryland return to College Park, it will be worth monitoring her performance in the Big Ten opener.
- Which player off Maryland’s bench will make their impact felt on the game? Maryland may not have the roster from year’s past, but it has a bench loaded with firepower able to immediately impact the game. Senior guard Brinae Alexander has played well in the previous two games, with 17 and eight points, respectively; She drained two clutch late three pointers versus Notre Dame. Senior guard Lavender Briggs seems to be gaining comfort, as she knocked down two 3-pointers in the team’s recent triumph. The Terps’ bench is shaping to be a pivotal piece of their attack this season, as multiple players are capable of contributing to the scoring column.