By Lila Bromberg
The No. 13 Maryland Terrapins (23-6, 12-4 Big Ten) defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers (20-9, 11-5 Big Ten) 77-75 in their last regular season game to secure a second place finish in the Big Ten.
After leading from the opening minutes of the game, Maryland let Nebraska crawl back in the fourth quarter and the Terps lost their lead with less than 40 seconds left.
Stephanie Jones was able to draw a foul and she made both shots at the line to give her team a 66-65 advantage with 26 seconds remaining. She then stopped the Cornhuskers from scoring with a strong block under the basket with 13 seconds remaining to put the final nail in the coffin for Nebraska.
“Steph’s defense was huge,” coach Brenda Frese said. “Obviously, when you talk about those late game sets, she helps be that glue on the backline.”
While Jones went two-for-seven from the floor for seven points, she was also essential on the boards to tie for most rebounds (11).
Maryland’s 47 total rebounds were crucial to the win, especially on the offensive end. The Terps had 18 offensive rebounds to convert 21 second chance points.
“We knew rebounding was going to be a critical part of this game on both ends of the floor,” Frese said. “You look at that fourth quarter, we didn’t shoot the ball well. I don’t think we scored in the last four minutes, but we found a way with our defense and our rebounding to be able to kind of keep us in that run. You’ve got to be able to have those things when your shots are not falling.”
Kaila Charles also played a key role, leading the team with 19 points, 11 rebounds and two assists.
Charles said it was important to her to get seniors Kristen Confroy and Ieshia Small a win on their Senior Day.
“We wanted to end their regular season on a good note,” Charles said. “We just went out there and played for them and each other.”
It was also the only game this season that every Terp put points on the board.
The final home win gave the Terps much needed confidence following three consecutive losses, which they will look to build off of as they ready for the Big Ten Tournament as the second seed. The Terps will have a double bye and are set to play the winner of the 7/10 seed game on March 2 at 6:30 p.m.