Maryland women’s basketball did just enough to beat Nebraska on Sunday, taking down the Huskers 64-57 in Lincoln.
Kaila Charles led the Terps’ offense once again, finishing with 25 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Brianna Fraser and Eleanna Christinaki also finished in double figures, scoring 14 and 11, respectively.
It was another up and down game for Maryland’s offense on the road. The Terps shot just under 40 percent from the field, and went on multiple long scoring droughts like they did against Northwestern.
Maryland was strong on the glass again, outrebounding Nebraska 49-29. However, that margin was partially cancelled by the Terps’ 17 turnovers. Charles had nine, almost finishing with an undesirable triple-double. The game also could have been easier late if the Terps hit more free throws. They went just 14-of-23 from the foul line.
Maryland’s defense made up for its struggles on the other end of the floor, though. Nebraska shot just 35.6 percent from the field, and leading scorer Hannah Whitish scored just seven points on 2-of-8 shooting. Taylor Kissinger stepped up in her place, scoring 18 points and hitting four three-pointers off the bench.
Maryland jumped out to an 11-4 lead with 5:55 to go in the first quarter, but then its offense came to a screeching halt. The Huskers answered with a 6-0 run to cut the lead to one, and then their offense decided to follow Maryland’s example. In the middle of the Terps going five minutes without a field goal, Nebraska went on a six-minute scoring drought. Maryland still got a free throw from Christinaki during that stretch, and Charles hit a jumper with 43 seconds to go to give Maryland a 14-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Charles stayed hot to begin the second quarter, scoring the Terps first eight points. The sophomore guard has done most of her damage in the paint this year, but knocked down jumper after jumper in the first half. A layup by Channise Lewis give Maryland a 24-14 lead, but Nebraska answered back with an 8-0 run to cut the lead to two. Confroy found Lewis for a much-needed three to end Nebraska’s run, and the Terps had a 27-22 lead at halftime.
Maryland finally gained some separation to start the second half, going on a 7-0 run to build a 12-point lead. Nebraska hung around and cut the lead to six in the third quarter, but Maryland led 47-39 heading into the final frame.
Nebraska continued to hang around in the fourth quarter, as the Terps went into another scoring drought. After Christinaki hit a three to push the lead to 12, Maryland didn’t score for four minutes and didn’t hit a field goal for another six minutes. The Huskers still couldn’t take full advantage, and were only able to trim the lead to six with under three minutes to go. Fraser answered with a layup and was fouled, and finished the three-point play to push the lead back up to nine.
Kissinger hit her fourth three to cut the lead to five with 58 seconds left, but Maryland made enough free throws down the stretch to hold off the Huskers.
The Terps continue their road trip Thursday at Michigan State. The Spartans handed Maryland their only Big 10 loss on Jan. 11.
Three things to know
- Kaila Charles is on a roll. Since waking up in the second half against Indiana, Charles has been on a tear. She’s scored at least 17 points in Maryland’s last four games and has shot no lower than 68 percent in each.
- Aja Ellison played her biggest minutes of the season. When Fraser and Stephanie Jones picked up two fouls in the first quarter, Brenda Frese turned to Ellison, who played as many minutes Sunday (9) as she did in her last three games combined. She didn’t score, but pulled down some crucial rebounds at the end of the first half.
- Maryland’s defense did the job once again. The Terps’ defense has been much better this year, and has helped them keep leads when the offense goes cold. That could be big down the stretch, especially in the postseason.