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Maryland women’s basketball vs. Nebraska preview: Terps look for another road win

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They can improve to 2-0 in the Big Ten with a victory.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Connecticut at Maryland Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland women’s basketball started conference play with an 11-point win over Minnesota on New Year’s Day. The Terps visit Nebraska on Wednesday, and they’ll look to improve to 2-0 in the Big Ten.

The team’s week started on a high note Monday when senior center Brionna Jones was named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week. Jones recorded two double-doubles last week: a 19-13 in the Terps’ loss to UConn and a 27-13 in the win over Minnesota. It’s the second time this year she’s won the award, although she was a solo recipient last time around and split it with Michigan center Hallie Thome this week.

The Terps also moved up from No. 4 to No. 3 in the AP Poll, despite suffering their first loss of the season last week. It’s certainly rare for a team to rise in the rankings after losing, but a close loss to UConn is the rare kind of loss that can make a team look better than it did before. There are rational reasons for Maryland to be as high as second, but the Terps essentially stayed put and benefited from Notre Dame’s loss at NC State.

Nebraska shouldn’t be a threat. The Huskers are 4-10 and haven’t beat a Power 5 opponent yet. They do have one prominent player in sophomore Jessica Shepard, but they’ll need a lot to happen if they want to make a run at Maryland.

The game tips at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday. Once again, it’s only available on BTN Plus.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-10, 0-2 B1G)

2015-16 record: 18-13, 9-9 B1G, WNIT first round

Head coach: Amy Williams was hired in April 2016 after leading South Dakota to the WNIT title. She went 96-44 in four seasons at South Dakota, winning Summit League Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2016. She graduated from Nebraska in 1998 and took the opportunity to return to her alma mater.

Players to know

Jessica Shepard, sophomore, forward, 6’4, No. 32. A reigning First Team All-Big Ten selection, Shepard is pretty much everything good about this team. She leads the Huskers with 18.6 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. She was a top recruit that decided to stay in the state

Nicea Eliely, freshman, guard, 6’1, No. 5. Second on the squad with 8.6 points a game; she also leads Nebraska in assists, steals and blocks. Eliely was Blue Star’s No. 143 player in the nation and ESPN’s No. 25 guard in the Class of 2016, and she’s contributed early in her career.

Allie Havers, senior, center, 6’5, No. 22. Started 21 games last year and all 14 this season. She’s averaging 6.7 points and 5.7 boards, down slightly from 8.3 and 6.6 a year ago.

Strength

Rebounding. Nebraska has a plus-7 rebound margin in its two conference games, and has a plus-1.3 margin for the season. Having two frontcourt players over 6’4 helps with this.

Weakness

Free-throw shooting. The Huskers are shooting a dismal 56.2 percent as a team. Shepard and Eliely, the two most frequent visitors to the charity stripe, are both just a shade above 50 percent.

Prediction

Maryland wins, 83-58.