Huskers Fall in Final Seconds at No. 13 Terps
College Park, Md. - Nebraska rallied from a 14-point deficit with less than 15 minutes left to take a 75-74 lead with 48 seconds remaining, before falling 77-75 at No. 13 Maryland on Sunday afternoon.
With the loss, Nebraska slipped to 20-9 overall to finish 11-5 in the Big Ten to earn the No. 3 seed in next week's Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis. No. 13 Maryland claimed the No. 2 seed in the tournament by improving to 23-6 overall and 12-4 in the Big Ten.
Husker sophomore guard Hannah Whitish buried a corner three with 48 seconds left to cap Nebraska's 14-point second-half comeback and give the Big Red a one-point lead, just their second lead of the game since opening with a Nicea Eliely three-pointer.
Whitish, who finished with a team-high 14 points, also took the shot to win it for the Huskers in the closing seconds, a three-pointer from the right wing with NU trailing 77-75. Whitish's shot was true but hit back iron and caromed off as time expired.
In addition to 14 points and four three-pointers from Whitish, Nebraska got 13 points and a trio of threes from senior guard Janay Morton off the bench. Eliely added 11 points, five rebounds and three assists, while junior forward Maddie Simon added 10 points, six rebounds and three assists to give the Huskers four players in double figures.
Following Whitish's three to take the lead, Maryland's Stephanie Jones was fouled on a put-back attempt in the paint and made both free throws with 26.3 seconds left to regain a 76-75 lead for the Terps. A failed possession for Nebraska and a pair of fouls send Kaila Charles to the line for Maryland with 13.2 seconds left. Charles, who finished with game highs of 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Terps, made the second of two free throws to give Maryland a 77-75 lead and set up the last-second drama.
Jones finished with seven points and 11 rebounds for the Terps, while Eleanna Christinaki added 13 points and five rebounds. Brianna Fraser pitched in 12 points off the bench, while Channise Lewis managed 10 points.
As a team, Nebraska hit 29-of-67 shots from the field (.433), including 11-of-29 threes (.379) while knocking down 6-of-8 free throws. The Huskers lost the rebounding battle, 47-33, as Maryland outscored the Huskers 21-11 in second-chance points. Nebraska balanced the rebounding disadvantage by winning the turnover battle 13-7, despite consistent full-court pressure from the Terps. The Huskers outscored Maryland 18-8 in points off turnovers.
Maryland hit 27-of-64 (.422) of its shots, including 8-of-17 three-pointers, and knocked down 15-of-23 free throws.
Nebraska struggled in the first half with foul trouble and injuries. The Huskers, who were playing without reserve center Darrien Washington (shoulder) and reserve point guard Bria Stallworth (ankle), were strapped with early foul trouble from starting center Kate Cain and senior guard Jasmine Cincore. Late in the first quarter, the Huskers also lost freshman guard Taylor Kissinger to an arm injury while she dove on the floor for a loose ball.
While scrapping to mix their lineup, the Huskers fell behind 37-23 with 4:37 left in the second quarter after trailing 22-17 at the end of the first quarter. But behind redshirt sophomore post Rachel Blackburn and senior guard Janay Morton, the Huskers rallied. Blackburn scored eight second-quarter points, while Morton added five in the quarter. A three-pointer by senior guard Emily Wood with one minute left slashed the Terrapin lead to 42-36 before Charles scored on a layup with five seconds left to send the Terps to the locker room with a 44-36 edge.
Charles led all scorers with 13 points in the half, while reserve post Brianna Fraser added eight first-half points for the Terps. Jones, Lewis, Christinaki and Sarah Myers each add five first-half points for Maryland, which hit 17-of-35 shots (.486) including 5-of-10 three-pointers.
The Huskers hit 14-of-32 (.438) first-half shots, including 5-of-14 threes. Blackburn scored a season-high eight points on 4-of-4 shooting in 11 minutes off the bench in the first half. Simon added six points and five rebounds, while Morton, Whitish and Eliely each added five points for the Huskers. Nebraska won the first-half turnover battle 7-5 and outscored Maryland 10-5 in points off turnovers, but Maryland outrebounded Nebraska 21-17 and outscored the Huskers 15-4 in second-chance points in the half.
Maryland rebuilt a 14-point lead with 4:48 left in the third quarter but the Big Red refused to go away. Christinaki put the Terps up 59-45, before Morton sparked the Huskers with a three-pointer and Whitish followed with another three to cut the margin back to 10 at 61-51 with 3:10 to play in the quarter. Back-to-back baskets by Simon and Eliely, followed by a pair of free throws by Morton with 48.7 seconds left trimmed the margin to five at 62-57. Eliely then gave the Huskers another lift with her athletic tip-in at the buzzer to send the Huskers to the fourth quarter trailing just 64-59.
Maryland quickly pushed the lead back to double-digits at 69-59 on Christinaki's three with 7:32 left, before back-to-back threes by seniors Morton and Wood cut the edge to 69-65. Cain and Cincore then combined for seven points for the Huskers to set up Whitish's lead-changing three with 48 seconds left.