Maryland women’s basketball picked up its first victory of the new year Thursday night with an 89-50 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
The No. 8 Terps were looking to bounce back after a difficult week that included losses to UConn and Ohio State. They did that and more, leading for the entire game and keeping it in double digits from the end of the first quarter onwards.
It helped that the Huskers started the game stone-cold. Freshman forward Jessica Shepard and junior center Allie Havers combined to take—and miss—the team’s first six shots. The Terps, meanwhile, found life in the low post much easier early on. In the opening period, Maryland scored 16 points in the paint.
The Terps led 20-10 at the end of the first quarter, despite not making a three or reaching the foul line. These trends continued into the subsequent period: Chloe Pavlech made the team’s first three just under 16 minutes into the game, while Brionna Jones took the first pair of free throws with 2:30 remaining in the first half.
But it didn’t matter. Malina Howard couldn’t be stopped down low, and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 7 points in a 35-second stretch just before intermission. They tallied 10 and 9 points, respectively, to lead Maryland into the half with a 46-21 advantage.
By the second half, all notions that this would be a competitive basketball game had faded away, but the two teams still completed all 40 minutes. As the game crawled on, Maryland’s lead kept creeping up like a helium balloon after being set free. The margin was 37 after three quarters and stretched as high as 42. Head coach Brenda Frese played mostly backups in the fourth, but the Terps still won the quarter to cap off a 39-point win.
Howard led all scorers with 15 points on perfect 7-7 shooting from the field. Brene Moseley added 14 points on 6-8 shooting. Walker-Kimbrough overcame a 1-7 shooting start to finish 5-12 for 11 points, while Brionna Jones recorded 11 points and a game-high 9 rebounds. Tierney Pfirman’s 10 points gave the Terps five in double figures, while Nebraska didn’t have any.
The win brings Maryland to 13-2 overall and 2-1 in conference play, and the team will try to improve both marks at Iowa on Sunday.
Three things to know
1. Maryland dominated in the post. You can use a lot of stats to determine a team’s performance inside, but there’s no getting around how lopsided this aspect of the game was. The Terps outrebounded Nebraska 50-27, and they scored 46 points in the paint to the Huskers’ 16. Jessica Shepard, Nebraska’s leading scorer this season, was held to 6 points on 1-9 shooting from the field.
2. Malina Howard had her best game of the season. The senior was unstoppable in the low post and with her midrange jumper. All in all, she scored a season-high 15 points despite not playing in the last quarter and a half.
3. The Terps only had 12 turnovers. That’s just over half of their total against Ohio State. Even better, Nebraska only scored 4 points off of turnovers. If the Terps can keep this number down going forward, it will go a long way.