Entering Wednesday night’s game against No. 18 Ohio State, Shyanne Sellers knew her team needed to have a stronger start in the second half after recent poor third-quarter performances.

“We look slow a lot,” she said.

Maryland women’s basketball did make it through the third quarter against the Buckeyes, trailing by just one. But the Terps still fell flat in the second half, unable to finish the game strong in an eventual eight-point defeat.

The Terps entered the half with a two-point lead, but Ohio State fought back using offensive rebounds to extend possessions and tire out the defense. Maryland was outscored by 10 in the second half — coach Brenda Frese said Ohio State’s “will to win was a little bit greater.”

Maryland women’s basketball has been “right there” in all three of its Big Ten losses this season, Frese said. But another second half collapse resulted in a 84-76 loss, just the Terps’ seventh home loss against a Big Ten foe since joining the conference.

[Maryland women’s basketball stumbles in second half, loses to No. 18 Ohio State, 84-76]

“We’ve addressed it, conditioning has got to be greater. Teams are separating in the second half,” Frese said.

In Maryland’s losses to Michigan State and Nebraska, it was the third quarter that proved crucial. The Cornhuskers transformed a one-point halftime lead into a six-point victory by outsourcing the Terps 24-16 in the third quarter.

Maryland had one of its best defensive halves in East Lansing, holding the Spartans to just 22 points. Despite entering the third quarter with a seven-point cushion, a similar collapse occurred. Michigan State scored 24 points compared to Maryland’s 14 in the third frame to hand it its second Big Ten loss.

“It just starts in practice. We just got to come in every day,” Bri McDaniel said about her team’s second-half woes. “We know what to do, and we just have to do it. We got the pieces. We just have to put them together.”

Despite recent struggles in the second half, Maryland has shown an ability to win when the game is close at halftime. It proved so during its nonconference schedule with multiple comeback wins.

[Maryland women’s basketball tops Purdue, 88-66, as Sellers eclipses 1,000 career points]

Frese’s team flipped a nine-point halftime deficit into a nine-point victory against George Mason on Dec. 3 with a dominating third-quarter performance. The Terps tallied 26 points while the Patriots scored just 12 to hand them their first loss of the season.

Maryland also secured victories over Syracuse and Green Bay after trailing at the half earlier this season.

But staying aggressive for a full 40 minutes in Big Ten games poses a more difficult challenge, especially with less depth on the bench — freshman Riley Nelson tore her ACL against Purdue and will miss the remainder of the season.

With three teams in the AP Top 25 poll and nine squads in the top 50 in the NET rankings, the Big Ten boasts fierce competition with 12 games to play. While Frese welcomes that challenge, continued second half collapses are preventing her team from overcoming them.