The ice bag taped to her body crinkled as Lindsey Moore limped into the interview room.
That picture said a lot, and the Husker senior guard Moore completed the graphic details.
“They were big and physical and Alyssa Thomas is one of the best players in the nation, big and can handle the ball, post up and shoot and is one of the toughest players we’ll see all year.”
Thomas, an All-American and the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year last season, scored 25 points, handed out eight assists, had six steals and ran the Huskers ragged as No. 11 Maryland thumped NU 90-71 Wednesday before 6,238 fans at the Devaney Sports Center in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Moore led the No. 21 Huskers (5-2) with 17 points, five assists and four steals and also took a knee to the groin.
But after junior Jordan Hooper’s 15 points and six rebounds, the Huskers didn’t have anybody else score in double figures.
Nebraska took a 31-27 lead with 4:56 left in the first half on a three-pointer by freshman Rachel Theriot.
Maryland called a timeout, and the game changed.
The Terrapins led 46-37 at halftime after hitting eight of their next 11 shots, including two three-pointers by Laurin Mincy and two more from Chloe Pavlech, while Nebraska hit three of eight shots and lost five turnovers.
Nebraska’s 50-percent shooting in the first half slipped to 33 percent in the second half. Maryland kept chugging away at a 51-percent clip all game.
“Both teams fighting, this was a track meet, and I was concerned about our depth, but we showed a lot of toughness,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. Maryland is missing its 6-foot-7 center and its top point guard because of injuries and may have lost Mincy to injury Wednesday. “I looked down the bench and started looking at our assistant coaches.”
Husker coach Connie Yori was impressed as well.
“If they had their point guard, they would be a legitimate national championship team, heck, they are a legitimate national championship team now,” Yori said. “They are one of the best five in the country."
Yori added: “Thomas is phenomenal and a matchup nightmare.”
Maryland was efficient on offense, Yori said.
“The misses for us, that’s part of the game and if you score, you do a better job in transition. When we don’t make shots ...,” she said. “They cloaked Hooper. They had the ACC defensive player of the year (Alicia DeVaughn) on her. Lindsey got knocked around and really wasn’t full-speed at the end. We did play hard and I thought we competed against a good team.
“Was it a big surprise that we lose by 19? No. They had better personnel. And they join our conference (in 2014-15) and I’m not looking forward to that.”
Thomas, a 6-foot-2 junior, drew praise from Frese.
“I love watching Alyssa when she is having so much fun,” Frese said. “When our two bigs played that well (Thomas and Tianna Hawkins, who had 21 points and 12 rebounds) and we hit the three-pointers, it was special to see everything come together.
“Nebraska was tough and they make you work for 40 minutes and this was fun for our team,” she said.
Nebraska plays host to Idaho State on Saturday at 2:05 p.m.
MARYLAND 90, NEBRASKA 71
Three-pointers--7-15 (Mincy 4-4, Pavlech 2-5, Pfirman 0-2, Rutan 1-4). Field-goal percentage--50.7. Free throw percentage--72.2. Team fouls--14. Assists--18 (Thomas 8). Turnovers--15. Steals--14 (Pfirman 4). Blocked shots--5.
Three-pointers--6-13 (Sample 1-2, Hooper 1-4, Moore 3-3, Theriot 1-2). Field-goal percentage--40.6. Free throw percentage--64.3. Team fouls--18. Assists--18 (Moore 5). Turnovers--20. Steals--9 (Moore 4). Blocked shots--2.