TCU’s women’s basketball team traveled to New Mexico for a Thursday night tilt with the Lobos, and came out of UNM’s famed Pit with a hard-fought victory to advance to the Elite Eight of the Women’s NIT.
The Frogs trailed by as many as 14 points Thursday night, as they took a seven point deficit into the half. But a huge third quarter push gave TCU control, and a 10-1 run to close things out gave them the victory. The Frogs shot over 60% in the second half after struggling to make shots and committing bad turnovers in the first. But credit that to the New Mexico fans, as a crowd 4,000 strong had the arena rocking. The Lobos, 25-11 overall, were an impressive 19-2 on their home floor this season, but the Frogs handed them that third L with a lights out third quarter.
The Frogs outscored New Mexico 29-16 in that third frame, making 12 of their 19 attempts from the floor while holding the Lobos to just 3-16 shooting. That gave TCU a six point cushion heading into the final stanza, but the Lobos weren’t going down without a fight. UNM cut the lead to just two, 71-69, with just over three minutes remaining, but a Adeola Akomolafe (a native of nearby El Paso) hit a jumper to ignite the 10-1 TCU run, and the Lobos would be held without a field goal the rest of the way, giving the Frogs the 81-72 win and advancing them in the WNIT.
Jordan Moore led the Frogs with 15, as her impressive postseason continues. She got plenty of help though, as Jayde Woods (14), Amy Okonkwo (13), and Kianna Ray (12) all hit double digits as well. The Frogs out-rebounded the Lobos by an impressive 42-30 tally, led by Moore and Okonkwo, who had nine apiece. New Mexico’s tandem of Tesha Buck and Cherise Beynon combined for 44 of their team’s 72 points. The Frogs out-scored the Lobos in the paint by a tally of 50-26, and have out-scored their WNIT opponents in the key by an average of 30 points per game.
The Frogs’ job isn’t done though, and they will face another tough road challenge on their road to the Final Four. TCU will next take on a South Dakota team that dispatched Michigan State in overtime Thursday night. The two teams will play Sunday at 6:00pm at Sanford Coyote Sports Center in Vermillion, SD.