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Nebraska Women’s Basketball vs Maryland Preview

The Husker women are playing for a chance to share the regular season Big Ten title. So are the Terps.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Connecticut at Nebraska Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska Cornhuskers (20-8, 11-4 Big Ten) at #13 Maryland Terrapins (22-6, 11-4 Big Ten)
Sunday, Feb. 25, 11 a.m. (CT)
XFINITY Center (College Park, Maryland)
TV: BTN/BTN2Go (Lisa Byington, Christy Winters Scott)
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst); Lincoln - B107.3 FM; Omaha - ESPN 590 AM
Free Live Audio: & TuneIn Apps
Live Stats

The Nebraska women’s basketball team heads to the final day of Big Ten regular-season play with a chance at sharing the conference title when the Huskers take on No. 13 Maryland in College Park on Sunday.

Nebraska secured a top-four seed and a double-bye at next week’s Big Ten Tournament with a 59-51 win over Penn State on Senior Night for Jasmine Cincore, Janay Morton and Emily Wood at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln on Thursday night. The Huskers can share the Big Ten title with a win over the Terps and a loss by No. 14 Ohio State at Penn State on Sunday in a game that also tips off at 11 a.m. If Ohio State and Nebraska win, Ohio State would claim the No. 1 seed in the league tournament and the Huskers the No. 2 seed.

Maryland is also playing for a share of the Big Ten regular-season title and a shot at the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. A win for the Terps and a loss by Ohio State gives Maryland a share of the regular-season title, and the Terps would win a head-to-head tiebreaker with OSU for the top seed. Nebraska’s game at Maryland will mark the third time the Huskers have entered the final day of the Big Ten regular season with a chance to win at least a share of the conference title (2013, 2014). The Huskers played for Big Ten Tournament titles in 2012 and 2014 (win).

The Huskers, who finished in a tie for last in the Big Ten last season at 3-13, own one of the nation’s top turnarounds at plus-13 overall in the win column, including plus-eight in conference wins. Nebraska and Rutgers both enter the weekend leading the nation at plus-13 wins over last season’s totals.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (20-8, 11-4 Big Ten)
24 - Maddie Simon - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 10.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg
31 - Kate Cain - 6-5 - Fr. - C - 10.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - So. - G - 12.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - So. - G - 8.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg
34 - Jasmine Cincore - 5-10 - Sr. - F - 6.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg

No. 13 Maryland Terrapins (22-6, 11-4 Big Ten)
24 - Stephanie Jones - 6-2 - So. - F - 11.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg
3 - Channise Lewis - 5-8 - Fr. - G - 5.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg
5 - Kaila Charles - 6-1 - So. - G - 18.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg
12 - Kristen Confroy - 5-9 - Sr. - G - 10.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg
10 - Eleanna Christinaki - 6-0 - Jr. - G - 12.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg

Scouting the Maryland Terrapins

Coach Brenda Frese is trying to lead her Terrapins back in a winning direction heading to the postseason after suffering three straight Big Ten losses.

In the first meeting with the Huskers, Maryland worked its way to a 64-57 win in Lincoln on Feb. 4 to notch its 14th straight 20-win season. It was Maryland’s fifth straight win as part of a seven-game winning streak that concluded with a 72-54 win at Rutgers on Feb. 11 to move the Terps to 11-1 in the Big Ten. Since then, the Terrapins lost 75-65 to Purdue in College Park before back-to-back road losses at Minnesota (93-74, Sunday) and Michigan (71-65, Thursday).

Prior to last week, Maryland had never lost back-to-back Big Ten games. The Terps had also won 20 of their last 21 games this season.

Kaila Charles, a 6-1 sophomore guard, leads Maryland with 18.1 points and 8.3 rebounds per game on the season. She had game highs of 25 points (11-of-16 shooting) and 16 rebounds despite committing nine turnovers in the first meeting with the Huskers. Since her performance in Lincoln, Charles has averaged 17.2 points and 8.6 rebounds, including 27 points while playing the full 40 minutes in Thursday’s loss at Michigan. She is averaging 19.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in the Terps’ three-game losing streak.

Eleanna Christinaki, a 6-0 junior guard who was a member of the SEC All-Freshman Team at Florida in 2015-16, has added 12.8 points and 4.2 rebounds since becoming eligible on Dec. 20 (Coppin State) after sitting out one season due to NCAA transfer rules. Christinaki had 11 points on 3-of-15 shooting in Lincoln. In the last five games, Christinaki is averaging 10.6 points and 4.8 rebounds but is shooting just 32.8 percent (20-61) from the field. In Maryland’s three-game losing streak, Christinaki is averaging 8.0 points and 3.0 rebounds while going just 10-for-35 (.286) from the field, including 2-of-11 (.182) from three-point range. Christinaki played just 14 minutes and did not score Thursday at Michigan.

Stephanie Jones, a 6-2 sophomore forward and the younger sister of former Terp All-American Brionna Jones, leads Maryland inside with 11.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. She is shooting a team-best 60.3 percent from the field, while adding 25 blocks. She had just two points, three rebounds and four fouls in just 10 minutes in the first meeting with the Huskers.

The most experienced Terp is senior Kristen Confroy. The 5-9 guard has joined Jones and Charles in the starting lineup for all 28 games this season. Confroy, who has hit 66-of-146 (.452) of her threes is an elite shooter who is also averaging nearly three assists per game. She has played in 134 games for the Terps with 88 starts. Confroy had three points and 10 rebounds in the first meeting with Nebraska.

Fellow senior Ieshia Small gives Maryland a major boost off the bench. The aggressive scoring guard is averaging 9.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in just over 22 minutes per game. She is just 1-for-15 on the season from three-point range. Small was scoreless in the first meeting with the Huskers.

Freshman Channise Lewis has assumed starting point guard duties in place of the departed Destiny Slocum this season. The 5-8 Lewis has managed 5.1 points and 5.0 assists per game. She is also a solid three-point shooter, hitting 25-of-64 attempts (.391) on the season, despite making just 21-of-38 free throws (.553). She had nine points and a game-high six assists in the first meeting.

Junior Brianna Fraser gives Maryland five active players averaging in double figures with 10.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in just 19.8 minutes per game. The 6-3 center was huge for the Terps with 14 points in 16 minutes off the bench in the first meeting with Nebraska. She has produced 9.3 points and 3.3 rebounds off the bench in Maryland’s three-game losing streak.

Sophomore guard Sarah Myers (1.9 ppg) and junior forward Aja Ellison (0.7 ppg) round out the potential contributors on a Maryland roster that features just nine players. Ellison, the daughter of former Louisville All-American Pervis Ellison, played nine of her 27 total minutes in Big Ten action in the first meeting with Nebraska. She has been slowed by a knee injury that kept her off the court last season.

Nebraska vs. Maryland Series History

Maryland leads the all-time series with Nebraska 7-0, including a 64-57 win in Lincoln on Feb. 4. The first meeting in history came with Nebraska’s 76-64 setback at Maryland in the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament (March 25). The 12-point margin matched the narrowest in series history.