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Maryland women’s basketball vs. Nebraska preview (round 2)

The Terps will look to snap a three-game skid on Senior Day.

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

Just eight days ago, it looked like Maryland women’s basketball was in position to win its fourth straight Big Ten regular season championship. Now, it’s looking to just have something go its way before the postseason.

The Terps have lost three straight games, each in a different fashion. They blew a 10-point third quarter lead against Purdue, were blown out at Minnesota, then kept it close but never led before falling at Michigan.

Maryland now has one more chance to get a win before the postseason Sunday against Nebraska, a game that means a lot more than it did just one week ago. While the Terps have already clinched a double bye for the Big Ten tournament, a win over the Huskers means they are at worst the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. A loss could drop them as low as the No. 4 seed.

This is also a must-win game for Maryland if it wants to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament, which looks more unlikely after losing to the Wolverines on Thursday.

The Terps have not lost four straight games since February 2003, which was Brenda Frese’s first season in College Park. Sunday is also Senior Day, and seniors Kristen Confroy and Ieshia Small will be honored before the game. Tipoff is scheduled for noon ET and the game will be broadcast on BTN.

What happened last time

Maryland led wire-to-wire in a 64-57 win in Lincoln on Super Bowl Sunday. The Huskers hung around the game by playing good defense and forcing 17 turnovers, but never got within five points in the second half.

Kaila Charles finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds, and the Terps held Nebraska to 35.6 shooting from the field and won the rebounding battle, 49-29. Taylor Kissinger was the spark for Nebraska off the bench, hitting four three-pointers and scoring a team-high 18 points.

What’s happened since

Maryland won at Michigan State and Rutgers the next week and hasn’t won since. Nebraska has gone 3-1 since falling to Maryland, and is now tied with the Terps for second place in the Big Ten.

Maryland has had the much more challenging slate since the last meeting. The Terps’ last five opponents currently have a combined .664 winning percentage, while the Huskers’ four opponents since the first game have a combined .496 winning percentage. This will be Nebraska’s toughest test since its first meeting against Maryland.

Three things to watch

  1. Can Maryland get out to an early lead? The Terps have lacked energy from the opening tip during their three-game losing streak, trailing after the end of the first quarter in each of the games. That never happened during their seven-game winning streak, and would give them some much-needed confidence for the rest of the game.
  2. Can Maryland get going from distance? The Terps went 0-fer from beyond the arc for the first time this year against Michigan, and have shot 22 percent on three-pointers during their three-game skid. Getting Confroy and Eleanna Christinaki going from outside could make a huge difference, as it would open things up inside.
  3. Does Nebraska keep an interesting trend going? Purdue, Minnesota and Michigan came into their matchups with Maryland needing another marquee win for their NCAA Tournament resume. The Huskers are in a similar position with an RPI of 62 and two wins against Iowa, so a win over the Terps would work wonders for their tournament resume.