TCU battles past KU women in Big 12 tourney
TCU, which had just one Big 12 Conference win under its belt in the regular season, knocked the Kansas women’s basketball team out of the Big 12 tournament on Thursday in a 57-52 slugfest.
The Horned Frogs’ blistering defense and a cold shooting night from the Jayhawks added up to an ugly game, in which the starters shouldered most of the load and the offense just couldn’t get going early on.
“Tough day at the office for the Jayhawks collectively,” head coach Brandon Schneider said. “When I say collectively, I mean everybody. Coaches, players; we didn’t have a very good day today. Ball didn’t go in the basket today.”
Kansas jumped out of the gates with a quick 8-3 scoring run but failed to build on its lead, and neither team could find any rhythm on the offensive side of the ball.
In the opening quarter, KU shot just 28% from the floor. Kansas hit on only 1 of 6 3-point shots, while the Horned Frogs connected on 35% of their shots and knotted up the score at 15-15. Much of the Jayhawks’ scoring happened at the free throw line, where they converted 6 of 8 shots.
In the second quarter, junior guard Chandler Prater erupted, providing the Jayhawks with a spark on offense. She racked up nine points on 80% shooting and scored over half of the team’s points in the quarter.
Unfortunately, senior center Taiyanna Jackson was held to just two points on three shot attempts in the half. And KU’s bench wasn’t much help, either. The reserves saw a combined 15 minutes in the first half and failed to score a point, and they had just four rebounds and recorded four turnovers.
Prater led all scorers in the first half with 13 total points, and Kansas had a 32-28 lead heading into halftime.
But TCU found its touch from behind the arc in the third quarter. The Horned Frogs drained 4 of 6 three-pointers in the period, with senior guard Tara Manumaleuga hitting back-to-back shots at the end of the third quarter.
TCU also played lockdown defense, holding Kansas to just under 28% shooting for the quarter, and the Jayhawks couldn’t get to the free throw line. Senior guard Holly Kersgieter’s three points in the third led the Jayhawks in scoring for the quarter.
The Horned Frogs had a 47-43 lead heading into the fourth quarter after outscoring KU by eight points in the third. Neither team could do much on offense in the final quarter; both teams shot under 22% from the floor with 11 combined turnovers and just five made baskets.
TCU made big stops down the stretch and forced two turnovers and four missed shots in the final 1:02 of play. With the help of some free throws, the Horned Frogs were able to hang on for the win — just their second victory this season against a Big 12 opponent.
Jackson cleaned the glass all night long for the Jayhawks, racking up 21 rebounds but only scoring a quiet seven points.
“She is probably the most improved player in our league, from when she came in to where she’s at right now,” TCU head coach Raegan Pebley said. “As good of a job as we did on her, she still had 21 boards; that’s just how good she is.”
And Prater ended her night with a 21 point, 12 rebound double-double, leading the game in the scoring column.
The Horned Frogs will take on No. 2 Oklahoma today at 5 p.m. in the Big 12 tournament’s second round. Kansas now awaits its fate for the NCAA Tournament, which will be revealed on Selection Sunday.
“I hope we make it to March, to March Madness,” Prater said. “I’m ready to go to the Big Dance.”