College Park, Md. – Sophomore Guard Kaila Charles had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Sophomore F Stephanie Jones had a huge block with less than 15 seconds left in the game and Maryland hit three of it’s last four free throws to defeat the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 77-75 on Senior Day, ending their first three-game losing streak in more than four years at the Xfinity Center in front of 10,239 fans.
The victory guaranteed Maryland (23-6 overall; 12-4 B1G Ten) the #2 seed in next week’s 2018 B1G Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis.
Sophomore Guard Hannah Whitish had 14 points for Nebraska (20-9 overall; 11-5 B1G Ten). Even with the loss, the Cornhuskers will be the #3 seed.
Before the game, both Senior Guard Ieshia Small and Senior Guard Kristen Confroy were honored with their families for their contributions while playing at Maryland.
Coming into this afternoon, Maryland had lost it’s last three consecutive B1G Ten conference games. In fact, coming into their fourth season as a member of the B1G Ten, the Terrapins were a combined 58-3 in the conference, losing all three times to the Ohio State Buckeyes (though Maryland has won all three prior B1G Ten Women’s Basketball Tournaments).
Maryland had not lost three games in a row since losing 86-72 to Virginia, 87-83 to Notre Dame and 72-63 to North Carolina State between January 19-30th, 2014 when they were members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Twice in the first quarter, Maryland led by 10 points. After Junior Forward Brianna Fraser made a lay-up with 3:36 left on the clock, the Terrapins led 20-10.
Nebraska held tough, keeping Maryland scoreless for the final 2:07 of the first. The Cornhuskers were just as cold to end the quarter, only making one field goal out of seven attempts and Maryland led 22-17.
Outscoring Nebraska 15-6 in the first five and a half minutes to begin the second, Maryland had it’s largest lead of the game at 37-23.
Senior Guard Emily Wood’s three for the Cornhuskers with 1:05 before halftime pulled Nebraska to within six points, 42-36 before Charles made a lay-up with just :05 seconds on the clock and Maryland took a 44-36 lead at the half.
As in the second quarter, Maryland started the third still on fire from the offensive end of the floor and they held their second, 14-point lead, 59-45, with 4:48 remaining on the clock.
Nebraska chipped the lead down to 62-57 after two free throws by Senior Guard Janay Morton with :48 seconds left. Fraser made her jumper with :25 seconds still remaining before Morton would miss a three-pointer but teammate Sophomore Guard Nicea Eliely tipped in the rebound as time expired and it was 64-59 Maryland heading to the fourth.
Maryland Junior Guard Eleanna Christinaki’s three gave the Terrapins a 69-59 lead with 7:43 remaining and it appeared Maryland would end Senior Day with little to no worries.
But two Nebraska three pointers and the lead had shrunk to 69-65 with less than five minutes to play. Maryland’s last field goal came with 4:32 left on the clock when Charles made a lay-up that pushed the lead back to six, 71-65.
The Terrapins missed their last five field goal attempts and when Whitish sank a three with :49 seconds left, Nebraska took it’s first lead since the beginning of the first quarter, 75-74.
Maryland Head Coach Brenda Frese called a time-out. On the ensuing possession, Charles missed her jumper but Jones grabbed the rebound before Eliely fouled her in the act of shooting. Jones made both free throws giving Maryland the lead back, 76-75 with :26 seconds left.
Out of their own time-out, Nebraska’s Senior Guard Jasmine Cincore’s jumper was blocked by Jones and Whitish fouled her before Maryland called time-out.
Charles received the in-bounds pass and was immediately fouled by Eliely, who fouled out of the game. Charles missed the first free throw but made the second and Nebraska called it’s final time-out to set up the potential game-tying and/or game-winning play.
Whitish tried to win it for the Cornhuskers, but came up short on her three-point attempt as Confroy secured the rebound and the Terrapins ran out the clock.
The 2018 B1G Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament begins on Wednesday when the first two games will be played. #13 Wisconsin plays #12 Northwestern at 1:30 pm EST with the winner moving on to play #5 Iowa in the second round. Twenty-five minutes after that game and #14 Illinois takes on #11 Penn State with the winner of the game moving on to play #6 Michigan in the second round.
Other second round games include #9 Rutgers against #8 Purdue on Thursday, March 1st at Noon EST. The winner of that game plays #1 Ohio State in Friday’s Quarterfinals. The winner of #13 Wisconsin/#12 Northwestern vs #5 Iowa will take place 25 minutes after the first game on Thursday with the winner of that game moving on to play #4 Minnesota in Friday’s Quarterfinals.
The Thursday night second round games starts with #10 Michigan State against #7 Indiana at 6:30 pm EST. The winner of that games plays #2 Maryland in Friday’s Quarterfinals. The last Thursday second round game will be the winner of #14 Illinois/#11 Penn State vs #6 Michigan 25 minutes after the third game on Thursday with the winner of that game moving on to play #3 Nebraska in Friday’s Quarterfinals. All first and second round games can be seen on BTN.Go and the Regional Sports Network in each team’s market.
Saturday’s Semifinals will start at 6:30 pm EST and 25 minutes after the completion of that game. Both games will be broadcast on BTN.
Sunday’s Championship game is scheduled for 7:00 pm and will be broadcast on ESPN2.