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Women’s Basketball Preview: Nebraska vs Maryland

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The Husker women take on a top 10 opponent for a chance to move into first place in the conference.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 01 Big Ten Women's Tournament - Illinois v Nebraska Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

-We’ll have a game thread Sunday afternoon that will double as a Superb Owl thread as well.

The Huskers (17-6, 8-2 Big Ten) tangle with the Terrapins (19-3, 8-1 Big Ten) at 2 pm on the same Sunday as some big game happening in Minneapolis. The Terps are ranked 10/11 in the major polls and are the only team ahead of Nebraska in the Big Ten standings. Nebraska has never beaten Maryland in women’s basketball, going 0-6 in the series.

Nebraska (#55 RPI) showed early in the season that they were going to be a better team than last year. I don’t think very many, me included expected them to be this much better. With six games remaining, the Huskers will face Maryland (#21 RPI) twice, Michigan State, Indiana, and Penn State. The Spartans (#54 RPI), Hoosiers (#71 RPI), and Nittany Lions (#81 RPI) are all currently below .500 in conference play. Nebraska has a legit chance at 20 wins this season.

I’m not sure this improved Husker team can hang with Maryland, but I’d love to be proven wrong. Nebraska put together a dominating performance against Iowa a week ago, burying the Hawkeyes by 30 by halftime before extending that lead to 36 and cruising to an 18 point win. They followed that with a flat performance against a bad Illinois team, winning by 15.

Hopefully the Huskers bounce back and play like they did against Iowa, because they’ll need to be on point to beat the three-time defending conference champions.

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. 11/10 Maryland Terrapins
Sunday, Feb. 4, 2 p.m. (CT)
Pinnacle Bank Arena (Lincoln, Nebraska)

Live Video: BTN Plus
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network; Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst); Lincoln - B107.3 FM; Omaha - ESPN 590 AM

Free Live Audio: Huskers.com/Huskers & TuneIn Apps

Live Stats

Huskers Take on Top 10 Terps on Sunday

The Huskers are riding a five-game winning streak after a 62-47 win over Illinois at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Thursday night to open a three-game home stand. The Terps bring a four-game winning streak to Lincoln following a Thursday win over Rutgers in College Park. Maryland, which has won three straight Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles since joining the Big Ten for the 2014-15 season, suffered its only conference loss in an 82-68 setback to Michigan State on Jan. 11.

Nebraska’s 8-2 record matches its best 10-game conference start since joining the Big Ten in 2011-12. Only three teams in school history have opened conference play with a 9-2 record or better, including an 11-0 start in 2009-10 (Big 12), a 9-2 start in 2006-07 (Big 12) and a 9-2 start in 1987-88 (Big Eight).

Nebraska Cornhuskers (17-6, 8-2 Big Ten)
24 - Maddie Simon - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 11.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg
31 - Kate Cain - 6-5 - Fr. - C - 10.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - So. - G - 13.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - So. - G - 8.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg
34 - Jasmine Cincore - 5-10 - Sr. - F - 6.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg

Off the Bench
33 - Taylor Kissinger - 6-1 - Fr. - G - 10.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg
12 - Emily Wood - 5-5 - Sr. - G - 4.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg
13 - Janay Morton - 5-10 - Sr. - G - 3.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg
15 - Bria Stallworth - 5-6 - So. - G - 3.7 ppg, 1.6 rpg
14 - Grace Mitchell - 6-2 - So. - F - 2.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg
50 - Darrien Washington - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 1.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg
43 - Rachel Blackburn - 6-3 - So. - F - 1.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg

Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998); Second Season at Nebraska (24-28); 11th Season Overall (217-137)

No. 11/10 Maryland Terrapins (19-3, 8-1 Big Ten)
24 - Stephanie Jones - 6-2 - So. - F - 11.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg
3 - Channise Lewis - 5-8 - Fr. - G - 5.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg
5 - Kaila Charles - 6-1 - So. - G - 17.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg
12 - Kristen Confroy - 5-9 - Sr. - G - 10.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg
10 - Eleanna Christinaki - 6-0 - Jr. - G - 13.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg

Off the Bench
34 - Brianna Fraser - 6-3 - Jr. - C - 10.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg
1 - Ieashia Small - 6-0 - RSr. - G - 10.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg
21 - Sarah Myers - 6-0 - So. - G - 2.2 ppg, 1.5 rpg
0 - Aja Ellison - 6-3 - Jr. - F - 1.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg

Injured
22 - Blair Watson - 6-0 - So. - G - 13.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg

Head Coach: Brenda Frese (Arizona, 1993); 16th Season at Maryland (421-114); 19th Season Overall (478-144)

Scouting the Maryland Terrapins

• Maryland is winning at a high level despite losing two All-Americans in guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and center Brionna Jones along with the 2017 National Freshman of the Year in point guard Destiny Slocum, while also suffering the loss of one of its top players this season - sophomore guard Blair Watson (13.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg) just five games ago.

• With a revamped roster, Maryland opened the season with a 2-2 record with its losses coming to defending national champion South Carolina and current No. 1 UConn before Thanksgiving. Since then, the Terrapins have won 17 of 18 games with their lone loss coming to Michigan State (Jan. 11) a day after learning they had lost Watson for the season with a knee injury.

• Maryland may not be as potent or experienced as previous seasons, but the Terrapins are still loaded.

• Kaila Charles, a 6-1 sophomore guard, was named the USBWA National Player of the Week (Jan. 30) after averaging 24.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and two blocks in wins over No. 12 Ohio State and at Northwestern last week. Charles hit 19-of-25 shots from the field and 10-of-12 free throws. She had 32 points on 12-of-16 shooting in the win over the Buckeyes. Charles leads Maryland with 18.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game on the season.

• Eleanna Christinaki, a 6-0 junior guard who was a member of the SEC All-Freshman Team at Florida in 2015-16, has added 14.0 points and 3.8 rebounds since becoming eligible on Dec. 20 (Coppin State) after sitting out one season due to NCAA transfer rules. Christinaki scored 32 points in her debut and added 26 points on 6-of-11 three-point shooting in last week’s win over Ohio State.

• Stephanie Jones, a 6-2 sophomore forward and the younger sister of Brionna Jones, leads Maryland inside with 11.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. She is shooting a team-best 61 percent from the field, while adding 22 blocks.

• The most experienced Terp is senior Kristen Confroy. The 5-9 guard has joined Jones and Charles in the starting lineup for all 22 games this season. Confroy, who has hit 53-of-110 (.482) of her threes is an elite shooter who is also averaging nearly three assists per game. She has played in 128 games for the Terps with 82 starts.

• Fellow senior Ieshia Small gives Maryland a major boost off the bench. The aggressive scoring guard is averaging 10.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in just over 23 minutes per game. She is just 1-for-15 on the season from three-point range.

• Freshman Channise Lewis has assumed starting point guard duties in place of the departed Destiny Slocum this season. The 5-8 Lewis has managed 5.4 points and 5.3 assists per game. She is also a solid three-point shooter, hitting 22-of-54 attempts (.407) on the season, despite making just 15-of-28 free throws (.536).

• Junior Brianna Fraser gives Maryland six active players averaging in double figures with 10.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in just 21.7 minutes per game. The 6-3 center provides Maryland with a more traditional post presence and leads the Terps with 25 blocks.

• Sophomore guard Sarah Myers (2.1 ppg) and junior forward Aja Ellison (0.9 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, has played just 16 total minutes in Big Ten action as she continues to recover from a knee injury that kept her off the court last season.