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Nebraska vs. Maryland Game Thread

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Huskers Shoot for Share of Big Ten Title

Courtesy NU Athletic Communications

Fri, February 23, 2018

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Courtesy Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Nebraska Cornhuskers
at #13 Maryland Terrapins
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: Huskers.com/Huskers & TuneIn Apps
Live Stats

Huskers Shoot For Share of Big Ten Title at Maryland
• 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. Tip-off between the Huskers (20-8, 11-4 Big Ten) and Terrapins (22-6, 11-4 Big Ten) on Senior Day at the XFINITY Center is set for 11 a.m. (CT) with a live national telecast by the Big Ten Network.

• A live radio broadcast will be produced by the Husker Sports Network, with Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch teaming up for their 17th season together on the call. The game will be carried for free on Huskers.com and over the air on B107.3 FM in Lincoln and ESPN 590 AM in Omaha. Free audio also can be found on the Huskers App and the TuneIn App. 

• A live telecast will be provided by the Big Ten Network with Lisa Byington and former Maryland player and assistant coach Christy Winters Scott on the call.

• 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 will shoot for their 12th Big Ten victory of the season, which would match their highest Big Ten win total since joining the league in 2011-12.

• Nebraska has locked up its 17th 20-win season in school history.

• 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
Off the Bench
33 - Taylor Kissinger - 6-1 - Fr. - G - 10.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg
13 - Janay Morton - 5-10 - Sr. - G - 4.8 ppg, 1.3 rpg
12 - Emily Wood - 5-5 - Sr. - G - 3.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg
15 - Bria Stallworth - 5-6 - So. - G - 3.4 ppg, 1.5 rpg
14 - Grace Mitchell - 6-2 - So. - F - 2.2 ppg, 1.9 rpg
50 - Darrien Washington - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 1.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg
43 - Rachel Blackburn - 6-3 - So. - F - 1.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
Second Season at Nebraska (27-30)
11th Season Overall (220-139)

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
Off the Bench
34 - Brianna Fraser - 6-3 - Jr. - C - 10.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg
1 - Ieashia Small - 6-0 - RSr. - G - 9.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg
21 - Sarah Myers - 6-0 - So. - G - 1.9 ppg, 1.3 rpg
0 - Aja Ellison - 6-3 - Jr. - F - 0.7 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 (424-117)
19th Season Overall (481-147) 

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. 

• Maryland’s only other Big Ten loss this season came to Michigan State (Jan. 11) a day after the Terps learned they had lost Blair Watson (13.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg) for the season with a knee injury. 

• 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.

• In 2012-13, the Huskers dropped a 90-71 decision to the Terrapins in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at the Devaney Center on Nov. 28, 2012.

• The two teams did not meet again until Jan. 3, 2015, when the Huskers fell to Maryland, 75-47 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Just over a month later, the Huskers battled the Terps to a 59-47 decision in College Park on Feb. 8 - tying for the tighest margin in series history.

• Maryland’s edge grew to 5-0 with an 89-50 win over the Huskers at the Xfinity Center on Jan. 7, 2016, before Nebraska withstood the biggest loss in series history with a 93-49 setback last season in Lincoln (Jan. 4, 2017) - the largest losing margin at home in Husker history.

Husker Nuggets
• A win for Nebraska at No. 13 Maryland would be the Huskers’ 21st victory of the season, which would be a plus-14-win improvement from last season (7).

• At 9-1 in true road games, Nebraska is one of only nine women’s teams in NCAA Division I (349 teams) with one or no losses in true road contests, joining UConn (12-0), Mississippi State (8-0), Mercer (13-0), Louisville (13-1), Baylor (9-1), Belmont (13-1), Gonzaga (11-1) and UAB (9-1).

• Kate Cain owns the Nebraska season record for blocks with 90, surpassing the previous mark held by Olympic bronze medalist Danielle Page (78, 2007-08). Cain has a block in all 28 games this season.

• Cain’s 90 blocks rank No. 5 in the nation while her 3.2 blocks per game rank eighth in the country through games Feb. 19. No Nebraska individual has ever averaged 2.0 blocks per game in a career, and only two Huskers (Danielle Page, 2.4 bpg, 2007-08; Catheryn Redmon, 2.5 bpg, 2010-11) have ever averaged 2.0 blocks per game in a single season.

• Nebraska freshman Taylor Kissinger has come off the bench in the first 15 Big Ten games. The 6-1 guard from Minden, Neb., is averaging 10.6 points per game on the year. Kissinger averaged a team-best 14.0 points per game over the first seven games this season as a starter before missing Nebraska’s final six non-conference contests with a knee injury.

• Kissinger (10.6 ppg) and Cain (10.5 ppg) have a chance to become just the second pair of Husker freshmen and the first since 1982-83 to each average double figures in the same season, joining Debra Powell (15.4 ppg) and Crystal Coleman (12.3 ppg).

• Kissinger needs four three-pointers to move into a tie for third on Nebraska’s freshman season three-point list with 51. Hannah Whitish is No. 2 on that list with 57 in 2016-17.

• Junior Maddie Simon (+6.5 ppg) is one of the Big Ten’s most improved players in 2017-18. Simon, a 6-2 forward, is averaging 10.6 points per game after averaging 4.1 points through all 29 games a year ago.

Williams Named Naismith Coach of the Year Semifinalist
• Nebraska’s Amy Williams was named a semifinalist for the Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Basketball College Coach-of-the-Year award by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Feb. 21.

• The second-year Husker head coach has led one of the nation’s top turnarounds, guiding the Big Red to a 20-8 overall record that has included an 11-4 conference mark heading into the final game of Big Ten play. Nebraska has put up a 13-game improvement in the win column over Nebraska’s 7-22 record a year ago. 

• The Huskers head to the final weekend of Big Ten play in position to contend for a conference regular-season title just a year after tying for last place in the 14-team league.

• The only Big Ten Conference coach listed among the 10 semifinalists for the Naismith National Coach-of-the-Year award, Williams joins Geno Auriemma (UConn), Vic Schaefer (Mississippi State), Jeff Walz (Louisville), Kelly Graves (Oregon), Kim Mulkey (Baylor), Muffet McGraw (Notre Dame), Robin Pingeton (Missouri), Karen Aston (Texas) and Joni Taylor (Georgia) among the contenders for the honor.

Lining Up A Husker Dance Card
• Nebraska’s 13-game turnaround matches Rutgers for the biggest swing in the win column in the nation this season.

• Nebraska Coach Amy Williams is one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith National Coach of the Year.

• NU’s top five scorers are all scheduled to return for the Huskers next season, including freshmen Kate Cain (10.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 3.2 bpg) and Taylor Kissinger (10.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and sophomores Hannah Whitish (12.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 5.1 apg) and Nicea Eliely (8.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg), along with junior Maddie Simon (10.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg).

• The Huskers own one of the nation’s best true road records at 9-1, including wins at current RPI No. 18 Iowa (92-74) in a game the Huskers led by more than 30 in the second half, No. 33 Rutgers (52-42) and No. 47 Minnesota. The Huskers also own road wins at No. 69 Michigan State (79-69) and No. 80 Drake. 

• Nebraska is 19-5 with Maddie Simon on the court this season. Simon missed four games (Creighton, Buffalo, Coastal Carolina, Clemson) with a significant ankle sprain suffered in warm-ups before the game with Creighton (Nov. 19). Simon missed the rest of NU’s games in November and the Huskers went 1-3.

• Taylor Kissinger missed Nebraska’s final six non-conference games with a knee injury suffered late in the game with Clemson (Nov. 30). Kissinger averaged a team-best 14.0 points per game through the first seven contests this season.

• Sophomore wing Nicea Eliely missed Nebraska’s first three games this season with a foot/ankle injury that kept her off the court for the last two weeks of October and the first two weeks of November.

• Senior guard Janay Morton, a projected starter, missed Nebraska’s first six games this season after undergoing offseason foot surgery. She missed eight games overall and played just 37 total minutes in non-conference play while recovering from the injury that kept her off the court for all of August, September and October. Since the first meeting with Maryland (Feb. 4), Morton is averaging 9.5 points per game off the bench.

• Nebraska’s full team did not have its first full practice together until Dec. 26 because of the injuries to Morton, Eliely, Simon and Kissinger.

Nebraska Streaks 
• Sophomore guard Hannah Whitish (45) owns the longest current streak of consecutive starts by a Husker. Nebraska’s second-longest streak is 27 games by freshman Kate Cain. 

• Whitish is the only Husker to start all 28 games this season. 

• Nebraska has featured the same starting lineup in 20 consecutive games (15-5 record). 

• Whitish has posted at least one assist in 30 consecutive games, and has three or more assists in 26 games this season.

• Kate Cain has blocked at least one shot in each of the first 28 games of her career. She has 24 games with two or more blocks.

• Cain has at least two rebounds every game this season.

• Maddie Simon has at least three rebounds in all 24 of her games this season.

• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 308 straight regular-season games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008.

• Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 187 consecutive games.

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