MINNEAPOLIS — A sly grin crossed Jaz Shelley’s face as she jogged back on defense. She didn’t have far to run to get back to the other end — her final three of the first quarter was a bomb from near the logo.

That shot capped off a stretch of three consecutive triples by Shelley to put Nebraska up 13 at the end of the first quarter. She crossed Shyanne Sellers to the ground on one three-pointer, racked up nine assists and helped put the Cornhuskers ahead for good with a triple in the fourth quarter.

Shelley and No. 5 seed Nebraska’s shooting overwhelmed eighth-seeded Maryland in a 78-68 Terps loss in the Big Ten tournament semifinals.

The Cornhuskers entered Saturday with the second most three-point attempts in the conference, trailing only Iowa. But they only made 33 percent of them, 10th in the Big Ten. And Maryland held opponents to the second worst three-point percentage in the conference.

On Saturday, Nebraska converted on 46.4 percent of them, its highest rate of the season.

[Maryland women’s basketball bows out in Big Ten tourney semifinal, loses 78-68 to Nebraska]

The Cornhuskers are a high-variance team — they’ve scored 108 points in a game and 47 in another. Thirty-four percent of their scoring is from three-pointers, which ranks in the 87th percentile in the country.

“Now that we have a pretty good feel if we’re making threes, let’s keep going to it, we know who the hot hand is,” Shelley said. “And if not, we need paint touches.”

They also have a potent inside-out game with Shelley and 6-foot-3 senior Alexis Markowski, which created more open looks.

Maryland fronted the post against Marikowski, a defense coach Brenda Frese said the Terps have done all season. That meant a help defender was almost always in the paint, which often left a Cornhusker shooter open. More often than not, they made Maryland pay.

Allie Kubek fights for a layup during Maryland women’s basketball’s 78-68 loss to Nebraska on March 9, 2024. (Rohan Pandit/The Diamondback)

“They are a smart team and they have a lot of great shooters, so having those shooters on skip passes also makes it difficult for us to have our defense protect and helping in the paint,” Faith Masonius said.

But Shelley also converted when she wasn’t left open. Her three to end the half was well beyond the arc, and a running floater with the shot clock winding down put Nebraska up eight with under two minutes to play.

[‘She’s our MVP’: Faith Masonius’ balanced outing guided Maryland to Ohio State upset]

The Cornhuskers combined their overpowering three-point offense with a stifling perimeter defense. Nebraska entered Saturday holding opponents to the third worst three-point percentage in the Big Ten. Maryland only made four of them.

Jakia Brown-Turner, who made at least one triple in her prior four games, went 0-for-5 from deep. The N.C. State transfer airballed a three in the fourth quarter that left her visibly frustrated.

Brinae Alexander, Maryland’s best shooter, only attempted three shots from deep and struggled to get open looks. Nebraska coach Amy Williams said it was a point of emphasis to limit the sharpshooter’s chances.

“I think they were face-guarding me, they were very worried about me,” Alexander said. “They were jamming me coming off screens.”

Maryland’s offense was excellent otherwise. The Terps shot 76.9 percent from the field in the second quarter and scored .944 points per possession in the game. It kept them within reach during a poor Nebraska third quarter. But Shelley was perfect from the field in the fourth, and Maryland’s tournament run ended in the semifinals.

Still, the Terps accomplished what they needed to this week. A win over top-seeded Ohio State boosts Maryland’s resume and likely secured the Terps a NCAA tournament berth. They’ll now wait for Selection Sunday to see if it did.

Bri McDaniel dribbles during Maryland women’s basketball’s 78-68 loss to Nebraska on March 9, 2024. (Rohan Pandit/The Diamondback)