While many bemoan the state of the TCU Men's Basketball, the Women's squad continue to make noise in March, beating Eastern Michigan at home to advance to the Sweet 16 in the NIT. After pummeling the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in the opening round, the Frogs continued to play hot, opening up a 13 point lead on their way to a 23 point quarter against EMU in round number two.
By halftime, the Eagles had climbed back into it, as they outscored TCU 20-19 in the second quarter, cutting the deficit to a manageable 12 points. Led by senior forward Chanise Baldwin, who had an epic performance with 26 points on 10/14 shooting and 13 rebounds, EMU outscored the Frogs in the second through fourth quarters. But the Eagles couldn't overcome their slow start, as TCU kept making shots and holding the Eagles at bay. While EMU relied heavily on Baldwin and junior guard Cha Sweeney, who poured in 22 points of her own, the Frogs used a balanced and varied attack to hold on down the stretch. Redshirt sophomore AJ Alix was en fuego, dropping 23 - all but two from beyond the arc, where she was a ridiculous 7/10. She was joined in double digit scoring by senior Veja Hamilton (18 points) and senior Zahna Medley - who was uncharacteristically cold from deep, but still dropped a healthy 11 points. Sophomore Toree Thompson and junior Jada Butts also pitched in with 11 and 10 respectively. Freshman center Jordan Moore was a force on the boards with ten rebounds, and played good defense on the interior against a big and aggressive Eastern Michigan team.
Though they never trailed in the game, TCU had to hold on for dear life down the stretch, as EMU made a run late and kept threatening to get over the hump. But solid free throw shooting (TCU finished 11/14 from the charity stripe), and good decision making late allowed Reagan Pebley's squad to secure the 85-81 win. The Frogs lost the turnover battle (20-14), but were excellent on the boards and did an incredible job moving the ball - 25 of their 31 field goals were assisted on. They also had an impressive 20 blocks and 12 offensive boards. After scoring a TCU post-season record 93 points against UTRGV, TCU was hot once again from the field in dropping 85 points on 48% from the field and 46% from long range.
TCU's record moves to 18-14, while EMU falls to 22-12. The Frogs will move on to face the winner of Arkansas State at UTEP, but will have a 48 hour wait to determine their opponent, as that game doesn't tip off until Monday evening. The location, time, and date are all to be determined based on how that game plays out.
Congrats to the Lady Frogs and keep rolling through March!