By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) – Kaila Charles scored 22 points, Blair Watson added 17 and No. 7 Maryland used a big third quarter to roar past Nebraska 89-63 on Thursday night for its eighth straight victory.
Standing alone atop the Big Ten, the Terrapins (23-2, 12-2) face No. 14 Iowa on the road Sunday with first place on the line. The Hawkeyes are one game back with four to play.
Maryland gained lone possession of the top spot last Sunday, bolting to a fast start in a rout of Rutgers. The Terrapins used a similar approach against Nebraska, hitting their first four shots for a 9-0 lead.
The Cornhuskers stayed within striking distance until Taylor Mikesell drilled a pair of 3-pointers in a 16-0 run that made it 69-45 entering the fourth quarter.
Nicea Eiely scored 18 points for the Cornhuskers (11-14, 6-8), who have lost five of seven. Freshman Leigha Brown, coming off a 30-point performance against Purdue on Sunday, was limited to five points.
The Cornhuskers’ first possession resulted in a shot-clock violation, and they had seven turnovers over the first four minutes while Maryland went up 14-4.
Nebraska never pulled even, and the Terrapins ended all suspense with their pivotal 16-point spree over a three-minute span. Brianna Fraser started the run with a layup and Watson closed it out with a buzzer-beating shot from beyond the arc.
Nebraska guard Hannah Whitish and coach Amy Williams were called for technical fouls in the pivotal third quarter. The one against Williams came during Maryland’s big run.
Maryland improved to 11-0 against Nebraska, including an 81-63 blowout on Jan. 8. The Terps have won the last three games by a combined 57 points.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers hung in there as best they could, but they lack the height and athleticism to pull off an upset on the road against Maryland.
Maryland: The Terrapins took care of business in workmanlike fashion, performing well enough to win comfortably and letting a variety of players share the scoring. Expect Maryland to crank up the intensity against Iowa with first place on the line.
Nebraska: Hosts No. 24 Michigan State on Sunday.
Maryland: Looks to improve road record to 10-1 at No. 14 Iowa on Sunday.