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Maryland women’s basketball to face Nebraska in Big Ten semifinals

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It’s Terps-Huskers Round 3 for a trip to the Big Ten tournament championship.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Michigan vs Nebraska Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Less than a week after going down to the wire, Maryland women’s basketball and Nebraska will meet again in the Big Ten tournament semifinals.

The Terps were locked in a back-and-forth battle with Indiana on Friday before eventually going on a 13-3 run to close out the game in a 67-54 win. Kaila Charles had another big performance on a big stage, posting a line of 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Maryland won despite shooting 2-for-9 on three-pointers, but the two hit by Channise Lewis in the third quarter gave the Terps a cushion for the first time in the game.

Nebraska was also engaged in a close contest, but never trailed after a Kate Cain jumper in the first quarter on its way to a 61-54 win over No. 6 Michigan. Hannah Whitish led the Huskers with 17 points, and also chipped in seven rebounds and three assists. Nicea Eliely added 12 points and six rebounds, and Jasmine Cincore had a strong all-around game of nine points, six rebounds and five assists.

Maryland won both meetings in the regular season, including a 77-75 win on Sunday. Whitish hit a three to give Nebraska its first three since scoring the first basket of the game with less than a minute left, but Stephanie Jones salvaged the game by hitting two free throws and blocking Cincore on back-to-back possessions. The Terps also beat Nebraska on the road, grinding out a wire-to-wire 64-57 win in Lincoln on Feb. 4.

Maryland is in the semifinals for the fourth straight year, while Nebraska is in the semifinal for the first time since winning it as a No. 3 seed in 2014. Coincidentally, that’s the same seed Nebraska is in this year’s Big Ten Tournament.

The game will tipoff approximately 25 minutes after the semifinal between Ohio State and Minnesota, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on BTN.

Three things to watch

  1. Which style wins out? Nebraska wants to wear you down by grinding it out on both ends, while Maryland wants to wear you down by going up-tempo as much as possible. The Terps have shown they can play both styles, and the Huskers looked comfortable pushing the pace in the last matchup.
  2. Does Maryland’s long-range shooting return? The Terps have been a strong three-point shooting team for most of the season, but struggled from long range Friday night. Part of that is because Kristen Confroy has struggled with her shot recently, and getting her going would be a big boost.
  3. Can Maryland limit Kate Cain again? Against the Terps, the center and all-conference defensive selection has averaged just 22 minutes, 7.5 points, seven rebounds and two blocks a game while struggling with foul trouble. Cain played 30 minutes against Michigan and made a huge impact around the rim with seven rebounds and seven blocks, but still fouled out with six points.