In a year of big wins across multiple programs, none may have been bigger - or more surprising - than TCU Women’s Basketball’s upset of #7 Texas.
The win, that was the second in what would become a seven game winning streak, was a huge boon for a program that had struggled against the top teams in the conference since joining the Big 12. It also served as a statement game for head coach Raegan Pebley, who had recruited at a high level since her arrival in Fort Worth, but had yet to make the kind of run that she would in 2017-2018. This win, along with several other marquee victories, turned into a contract extension, announced earlier this month.
But... back to the game.
You could call the Frogs’ home victory over the Longhorns “The Jordan Moore Coming Out Party”, as TCU’s junior center had as much of an impact on that game as any played that stepped foot on the floor. Moore, a top 50 recruit in the country when she signed with the Frogs, had yet to reach her full potential in her first two years on campus. But as a junior, something clicked, as the player who averaged eight points and 5.5 rebounds in 19 minutes per game during her first two seasons, skyrocketed to 13 and seven in 24 in year three.
Against the Horns, she was downright dominant, dropping 19 points on 8-11 shooting with five blocks, including a pair of crucial stops in the waning moments of the contest. Her defense on the Horns’ talented front line was impeccable as well, as she helped hold Texas to just 41% shooting on the day. Joining Moore in signature performance was USC transfer Amy Okonkwo, a fan favorite who drained a pair of threes and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. The Frogs got a big day from senior leader Toree Thompson, who helped the Frogs’ 80% connection range from deep with a 3-4 performance from behind the arc, including the go-ahead three with just under a minute to play in a back and forth affair - a shot that would give TCU the lead at 73-71. Texas responded with a three of their own to go up one with 38 ticks on the clock, but the Frogs’ Kianna Ray hit her second long ball in two attempts on the ensuing possession to put TCU back on top.
After Texas tied things up at 77, the Frogs had the ball and 17 seconds left to try and steal a big one on their home floor. Once again, Ray answered the call, driving hard to the paint and drawing a foul, draining a pair of freebies to put TCU back on top - for the final time.
When you think of big moments in TCU Athletics, it’s easy for the casual fan to overlook women’s basketball and other less-publicized sports amongst the big bowl games, College World Series appearances, and NCAA Tournament berths. But Pebley is building a powerhouse in Fort Worth in one of the toughest conferences to do it in, and is primed for a huge 2018-2019. The environment in the Schollie for that game, and several other big home matchups, was unbelievable, and the program is developing a devoted and enthusiastic following. If they continue to win on the court, they’ll draw plenty of attention off of it, and with it, even more success in recruiting and the postseason.