What a season for the Frogs, and the fun is just beginning.
The Horned Frogs, who led Tech 40-35 the half, were going to open the Big 12 tournament against Kansas State regardless of Saturday’s outcome. The only thing left to settle was which team would be seeded No. 4 and which team would be seeded No. 5.
The Frogs finished at .500 in conference for the first time since going 7-7 in the Mountain West in 2012. TCU won a combined eight Big 12 games the previous two seasons, including six in coach Jamie Dixon’s first season in 2016-17. In the five seasons prior to Dixon’s arrival, TCU combined to win 15 conference games, including seven wins in their last year in the MWC. Dixon has 15 Big 12 regular-season wins in two seasons.
”We feel good,” Dixon said. “Obviously, this is going to be a tough game to win on the road in this league. We fought through adversity. We had foul trouble across the board. I liked how hard we played, you outrebound a team by 12, you’ve got to admire the effort.”
The Frogs jumped out to a big lead and then hung on for dear life, but ultimately, got a crucial win and booked a date with Baylor in the quarters.
Sixth Man of the Year Amy Okonkwo scored 21 points and Amber Ramirez added 19, leading the parade to the foul line in the closing minutes as fifth-seeded TCU held off No. 4 seed Oklahoma 90-83 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament on Saturday.
Kianna Ray had 14 points and Oklahoma City native Dakota Vann 13 for the Horned Frogs (19-11), who advance to their first conference semifinal since joining the Big 12. Their reward is a meeting Sunday at 2 p.m. on FS1 against third-ranked Baylor, top seed in the Big 12.
This is a terrible headline. OU started fouling with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, and TCU shot 18 free throws from that point on. That brings the FT total to a respectable 21 attempts, which would be about right for a game that was pretty physical (OU shot 25).
“Second-half free throws were big, and I think the number is elevated because they started fouling us early,” TCU coach Raegan Pebley said. “But in the first half they got to the foul line a lot more than we did.”
OU coach Sherri Coale saw fouling as a problem rooted in the Sooners’ defensive effort, which was to halt TCU from long distance after it made nine first-half 3s.
“We fouled too much obviously,” Coale said. “Running at shooters, so then they put the ball on the floor and drive in, and help guys foul. Look at that — 39 free throws?”
It’s a sweep Sunday, and TCU has a lot of ammo left in the bullpen.
On the mound, Nick Lodolo (3-0) was dominant in his six innings of work, allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits, walking two and striking out a career-high 10 batters.
The TCU bullpen has pitched 22 1/3 scoreless innings spanning the last five games.
The Horned Frogs will look for their first sweep of the season in Sunday’s series finale from Lupton Stadium at 1 p.m. on FSSW.