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Maryland's Thomas, Mincy too much for Nebraska

The SportsXchange

LINCOLN, Neb - Maryland's potent inside-outside combination of Alyssa Thomas and Laurin Mincy was too much for Nebraska to overcome.

Thomas, a junior forward, scored 25 points, and Mincy was 4-of-4 on three-pointers en route to 16 points before leaving with a knee injury, as No. 10 Maryland defeated No. 19 Nebraska 90-71 on Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge before 6,238 fans at the Devaney Sports Center.

Senior forward Tianna Hawkins, who entered the game ranked second in the nation in field goal percentage at 71.1 percent, scored 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting and added 12 rebounds for Maryland (4-1).

"It was special to see everything going," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "Leading up to this point, sometimes we've had our post game, or our guard game, but never together. That's what you've got to be able to have."

The only drawback was when Mincy fell to the court, wincing in pain, only five minutes into the second half. She was helped off the court, and Frese said Mincy would likely undergo an MRI on Thursday.

Nothing slowed Thomas, though. Playing three different positions, she added five rebounds, eight assists and six steals in 36 minutes.

"What didn't she do?" Frese said. "That's what separates her, that's what makes her so special. What I love is watching Alyssa when she's having so much fun like she did tonight. She did a tremendous job commanding a presence, understanding when we needed her on the wing, inside, at the point."

The Terrapins, who returned four starters from last season's NCAA Elite Eight team that finished 31-5, shot 51.6 percent in the second half, when Maryland pulled away from a nine-point halftime lead.

Mincy's final three-pointer of the game came less than three minutes into the second half and gave Maryland a 51-39 lead.

Nebraska was within nine points with 14:50 remaining following Emily Cady's steal and layup and Hailie Sample's layup following another Cady steal.

But Thomas responded with a driving basket and completed a three-point play to push the lead to 60-46 with 13:20 remaining. The Terrapins led by double digits the rest of the way, with the margin stretching to as many as 22 points.

"Coaches just told us to attack," Thomas said. "We knew that they couldn't really guard us out on the wing, so whenever we get the ball, to just attack the basket, and if I had the open lane I would take it, and if they were stepping up, I'd just find the open player for open shots."

Senior guard Lindsey Moore led Nebraska (5-2) with 17 points, and junior forward Jordan Hooper added 15.

Nebraska hung with Maryland through an up-tempo first half but could do little offensively after halftime. The Huskers shot just 33.3 percent in the second half and committed 10 turnovers.

"They're a really good team, and you can see why they're ranked as high as they are," Moore said of the Terrapins. "If they put it together like they did tonight with shots and as well as they offensive rebound, then they're going to be up there competing with anybody in the nation."

Maryland led 46-37 at halftime, thanks to a 19-6 run over the final 4:48 of the first half.

Nebraska had forged ahead 31-27 on three-pointers from Moore and Rachel Theriot on consecutive possessions, equaling the Huskers' biggest lead of the first half.

That's when Mincy went on a tear for Maryland. The 6-foot junior guard made two three-pointers, scored a layup off a turnover and assisted freshman Chloe Pavlech on a three-pointer, as the Terrapins outscored Nebraska 14-2 to take a 41-33 lead with 2:25 remaining.

Hooper slowed that spurt with a basket underneath for Nebraska, but Thomas scored off an offensive rebound, and then hit one of two free throws on Maryland's next possession to stretch the lead to nine.

Moore scored for Nebraska, but Malina Howard stole a rebound from Theriot and scored on a putback to give the Terrapins a nine-point advantage at halftime.

Maryland, which entered the game with an astounding plus-28 rebounding margin on the season, outrebounded Nebraska 20-18 in the first half, with eight offensive rebounds leading to 14 second-chance points.

The Terrapins, behind 13 points apiece from Mincy and Thomas, shot 50 percent in the first half, including 5-of-9 on three-pointers.
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