LINCOLN — It might be below zero in Lincoln, but No. 9 Maryland lit it up as it cruised past Nebraska to a 95-73 victory, earning coach Brenda Frese her 500th win at Maryland.
Ruby Porter brought some heat as well. She finished with a career-high 19 points — beating her previous high of 12 points against Wisconsin.
“Fantastic to get that production out of Ruby,” said coach Amy Williams. “It’s good to see her come out again tonight and be aggressive-minded.”
After a few warmup games, Porter's fellow Australian Issie Bourne battled her way to a double-double, with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
“I needed a couple of games to get back into my rhythm,” she said.
Williams said she was most impressed that neither Bourne nor Porter had a turnover and that they contributed a combined seven assists.
Maryland went on a 12-0 run early to lead game 14-4 with 6:35 left in the first quarter. The Terrapins shot 86% from the field in that period.
“I felt like we got hit by a Mack truck,” Williams said on Sports Nightly. “We were spinning around in circles trying to get back.”
Down 51-30 at halftime, the Huskers came out of the locker room in a blaze, going on a 10-0 run and cutting Maryland’s lead to 56-46 with 5:30 left in the third quarter. But the No. 1 scoring offense in the country wasn’t taking no for an answer and went on a 24-4 run of its own.
“We gave up some crucial offensive rebounds and some kick-outs, and they got some second-chance points in that stretch,” Williams said. “Mimi Collins hit several mid-range jumpers that hurt us.”
Collins finished with 19 points and seven rebounds.
Point guard Ashley Owusu contributed to the run with a whopping 12 third-quarter points and finished with a team-high 25 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.
“The key is that they have a point guard that is just special,” Williams said. “If you have one player that is not quite in the right place, then she can dime you with a three-quarter pass on the money and really pushes tempo that way.”
“It starts and stops with Ashley Owusu and the way she controls the ball and controls the tempo.”
After scoring Nebraska’s first points of the game, Kate Cain went dormant before coming alive and scoring eight points in the second quarter. She finished with 17 points and three rebounds.
The Terrapins held Sam Haiby, who averages 18 points per game, to seven points, five rebounds and six assists. Forwards Annika Stewart and Bella Cravens each scored five points.
Four Terrapins earned double-digit points in the first half. Chloe Bibby led the team with 16 points, Owusu followed with 11, and Diamond Miller and Collins each added 10.
Nebraska’s defense shut down Bibby and left her scoreless in the second half. Her team picked up the slack. Miller took over and scored nine fourth-quarter points, finishing with 21 points.
NU being down by a large margin in the second half allowed for Kendall Coley to play 10 minutes, the most in her time as a Husker. Her first points, a smooth jumper on the right side of the key, came with 3:10 left in the game.
“Kendall is starting to get more and more comfortable with where she’s supposed to be and what she’s supposed to be doing, and that’s allowing her to play a little more aggressively,” Williams said.
Yet again, the Huskers struggled with transition defense, losing their fourth game in a row and falling to 9-9 overall and 7-8 in the Big Ten.
“I think 73 points, 21 assists and 12 turnovers is something we can be proud of,” Williams said. “But once again, I feel a little bit like a broken record.”
“In the last few ball games, we felt like our point total needs to be enough to win us games," she said. "Our transition defense is not where we need it to be to win games in this type of a tough stretch of the Big Ten play.”
Nebraska sets its sights on Northwestern as it travels to Evanston for a Wednesday night game in which the Huskers will be looking to beat the Wildcats for the second time this season and end their losing streak.