Leading from start to finish, No. 9 Maryland (14-1, 3-1 Big Ten) defeated Nebraska (7-8, 2-2 Big Ten) 81-63 in one of their strongest performances of the season. With the win, head coach Brenda Frese is now the winningest head coach in program history with 500 career wins, passing Chris Weller.
Offensive balance was a key for Maryland throughout, with four players finishing in double figures. Junior guard Kaila Charles led the way with 19 points, followed by freshman guard Taylor Mikesell who finished with 16 points. In addition to Charles and Mikesell, junior guard Blair Watson finished with 12 points, and junior forward Stephanie Jones had 13. All four players shot 50 percent or better from the field, capitalizing on their opportunities.
After a tightly contested first half, Maryland began to build their lead in the third quarter. Freshman forward Ashtyn Vanderbeek knocked down two free throws in the third quarter to cut the Terps lead to 45-43. Following the free throws, Maryland finished the quarter on a 16-6 run propelled by Charles and freshman forward Shakira Austin, who struggled mightily against Ohio State on Sunday but rebounded on Tuesday. Austin and Charles accounted for 12 of the Terps 16 points during the run.
In the fourth quarter, Maryland continued to build on their lead with Mikesell and Watson knocking down perimeter shots. After Nebraska cut the lead to seven with 7:29 left, Mikesell immediately bounced back and knocked down a contested three from the corner right in front of the Maryland bench, increasing the lead to double digits once again.
Overall, the Terps were efficient from the field shooting 51.6 percent overall and 58.8 percent from behind the arc. Entering the game, Nebraska struggled on the defensive end and Maryland took advantage of their struggles to rotate out to shooters. The Terps established an inside-out presence with baskets in the paint courtesy of Jones and Charles and perimeter jumpers from Mikesell and Watson.
A key catalyst for the Terps offensive success was guard Channise Lewis, who finished with nine points and six assists, facilitating to her teammates both inside and on the perimeter. Lewis found her offensive touch right out of the gates with seven points in the first quarter and continued to set up her teammates in good positions as the game progressed.
After the win Maryland will return to College Park to take on Michigan on Saturday at the Xfinity Center with tip-off scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
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