Sunday night’s game in South Dakota was the kind of back and forth affair that the home team usually finds a way to win. But this TCU Basketball team is battled-tested, road-tested, and just plain good, all of which contributed to them coming out on top in a tough environment against a really talented Coyotes squad.
The Frogs relied on the inside presence of Jordan Moore to overwhelm South Dakota, as the TCU junior center went off to the tune of 26 points on 11-13 shooting. Going to her time and time again down the stretch, the Frogs were able to fend off the Coyotes late rally and hang on for a 79-71 win.
In a season of firsts, TCU has sealed up their most successful postseason run, reaching the WNIT Quarterfinals for the first time in school history. They have set the mark for program wins (23), defeated a slough of ranked opponents, and had a seven game winning streak during a stretch that saw them get in the mix of the top half of the Big 12 Conference. Now, they will look to do something they have never done once again, win three straight postseason road games as they travel to Indiana with a berth in the WNIT Championship game on the line.
Moore was one of just two Frogs in double-digits Sunday, bolstered by Kianna Ray’s 10. Five players had at least six points on the night, as Amber Ramirez and Jayde Woods pitched in nine apiece, Lauren Heard added eight, Dakota Vanna and Amy Okonkwo added six each. The Frogs, who trailed by three at the half, played a near perfect final two quarters, committing just four turnovers and holding South Dakota to just 11-30 from the field and 1-5 from three. Meanwhile, Moore couldn’t miss; she is now shooting 86% through the WNIT on 30-35 shooting. That’s insane production and efficiency from a player who had scored in double-digits just once during the regular season.
TCU dominated the glass once again, out-rebounding the Coyotes 38-30. They shot 51% from the field for the game despite converting on just 34% of their opportunities in the second half, and improved on a 1-6 mark from the free throw line in the first half, going 6-6 in the third quarter and 7-11 down the stretch in the fourth as South Dakota fouled intentionally.
The Frogs will now face an Indiana squad that dispatched UC Davis at home to run their record to 21-14. The Hoosiers at 14-5 on their home floor this year, but playing in a tough road environment is nothing new for these Frogs, according to head coach Raegan Pebley. “This was one of the toughest games that we’ve had to play all season. This environment, the physicality of the game, the challenge to our defense and the toughness that South Dakota played all rival any other game we’ve played. We feel very fortunate to be able to get out of this arena with a win.”
The Hoosiers have one thing most of the Frogs’ opponents over the course of this run haven’t - the size to slow down the interior game of TCU. With six players on their roster over 6’0” and four more at 5’10” or above, the Hoosiers are more equipped than most to try and contain Moore, Okonkwo, Woods, and Adeola Akomola. All that being said, TCU has risen to the challenge time and time again, and they will surely be prepared for Wednesday night’s contest.
Tip off is scheduled for 6:00pm CT Wednesday evening, with the game being broadcast on the Big Ten Network. The radio call is available on 88.7 KTCU.