Even in Maryland women’s basketball’s worst losses this season, Shyanne Sellers delivered. The junior’s stellar campaign has refuted the concerns about the Terps’ lack of a true No. 1 option.

But even stars have their struggles. Sellers was a non-factor in Maryland’s 87-81 loss to Nebraska on Sunday, the Terps’ first loss in conference play of the season as they never found a rhythm against a pesky Cornhuskers defense.

Maryland struggled defensively in its first game after a 10-day break. The Terps surrendered 20 first quarter points to Nebraska, the second most points Maryland allowed in an opening frame this season.

The zone defense that worked effectively in the nonconference was inefficient against a quality Big Ten opponent. Teams like James Madison and Towson struggled to convert open threes, but the Cornhuskers made Maryland pay. Nebraska shoots 33 percent from three, 10th in the Big Ten, but has attempted the fifth most threes in the conference.

“We were trying to take away more of the threes and live with the twos but clearly they executed,” coach Brenda Frese said.

[Shyanne Sellers sets career high as Maryland women’s basketball beats James Madison, 78-55]

On Sunday, the perimeter battle decided the game. Nebraska made 10 threes. The Cornhuskers also hold opponents to the lowest three-point percentage in the Big Ten, which carried over to their battle with the Terps. Maryland only made seven threes, on 30 percent shooting.

The Terps offense kept them in the game despite their shooting struggles. Maryland got to the foul line seven times and six Terps scored in the first quarter, including Lavender Briggs, who returned to action after missing five games with a lower body injury.

In her return, Briggs scored a season high 25 points and played a team high 32 minutes. The Florida transfer came off the bench in favor of Bri McDaniel in her return. It was an impressive performance from the graduate student, who has struggled on offense so far this season.

Frese tinkered with the rotations with Briggs back — freshman Emily Fisher only played seven minutes.

Fellow freshman Riley Nelson made her mark in the second quarter. Near the end of the frame, Nelson converted a layup plus a foul, made a contested corner triple then halted Nebraska from scoring in transition. She played the most minutes of any Terp in the second frame and sent Maryland into halftime down 39-38.

“Coach always tells me to be ready when your numbers called,” Nelson said.

[Zone defense powers Maryland women’s basketball to sixth straight win, 99-51, over Towson]

Behind Briggs and Nelson’s dominance was a quiet afternoon for Sellers. She entered Saturday averaging 18 points per game on 44 percent shooting, but finished the contest against the Cornhuskers with four points on 1-for-7 shooting.

In both games against Nebraska last season, Sellers scored 20 or more points and had a double-double in Lincoln. But the Cornhuskers devoted ample attention to containing the junior, crashing the paint on every drive and switching between ball screen defenses.

“I thought [Nebraska] keyed in on her, they had two surrounding her most of the game,” Frese said. “I thought she lost some of her poise and composure when she got into early foul trouble.”

With 4:03 left in the fourth quarter, and the Terps down just four, Sellers picked up her fifth foul. After she fouled out, Nebraska made a crucial three to stretch its lead to seven, part of a crucial 5-0 Cornhuskers run at the end of the final frame.

Maryland relies heavily on Sellers as the primary ball handler, scorer and passer. Her off night Sunday made it tougher for Maryland to prevail. Despite a late surge, Nebraska handed the Terps their fourth loss to cap 2023.