In a game of runs, the team that has the last run usually ends the game with a win. That was certainly the case Sunday, as TCU Basketball dropped their contest in Lawrence against Kansas 82-72.
As they had in the two teams’ previous matchup, Kansas got off to a strong start Sunday, jumping out to an 8-0 lead. But the Frogs fought back, rattling off a 11-3 answer to end the first period tied at 11. The second quarter was all TCU, as the Frogs went 3-6 from behind the arc and 9-17 from the field, with Lauren Heard and Aja Holmes combining for 13 to help their team to a 33-25 halftime lead.
But, in a bit of revenge, KU came out of the halftime charging, just like TCU did in their comeback win over the Jayhawks just a few weeks ago, outscoring the Frogs by five in the frame to make it a three point game headed into the fourth quarter. “The big difference on the game is that we were able to dictate pace in the first half. We got more stops, we attacked downhill — we had them on their heels. In the second half we were mostly operating against a set defense,” coach Raegan Pebley said.
The final frame would be a frustrating one to say the least; TCU watched KU climb back in the game on the strength of freshman Ioanna Chatzileonti, who had a game high 19 points, including 17 in the second half and 11 in the fourth. The Jayhawks also got to the free throw line a ton in the final ten minutes, hitting 16-20 (after taking just 11 in the first three quarters combined), including several clutch ones down the stretch to keep TCU at arm’s length. Kansas guard Aniya Thomas, a 26% three point shooter on the year, hit her first three attempts from behind the arc and finished the game with 11 points. Thomas got a lot of good looks, as Kansas’ defense struggled to contain Chatzileonti, over-rotating and over-compensating as she filled up the state sheet. “She had a lot of time. Those pretty wide open shots,” Pebley said.
The Frogs were led bv Lauren Heard’s 19, but the senior guard struggled on the day, shooting 6-19 from the field and 7-11 from the free throw line, while getting blocked six times by the strong KU front line. Kansas paid extra attention to TCU’s lading scorer, making things very difficult on Heard, something she is certainly used to as one of the Big 12’s best scorers. It wasn’t an ideal situation for the senior to be in, Pebley said. “We’ve got to keep making reads instead of trying to force something to happen, and have to keep trusting those reads and finding the best shot not just a shot.”
A bright spot for the Frogs was the continued emergence of transfer Patricia Morris, who was pressed into a season-high 18 minutes with Yummy Morris and Tavy Diggs dealing with foul trouble. Morris scored 10 points on 4-6 shooting and a 2-2 effort from the foul line, and she turned it over just once while collecting four rebounds. Pebley was impressed with her first year player, who has only touched the fullness of her abilities as she comes back from injury. “Her ceiling is really high. She’s not in great physical shape yet because she’s been out for so long, but she’s given us great length and great effort inside, changing shots and getting rebounds. She’s a big that gets to the free throw line and finishes; her potential impact is awesome I think.”
The Frogs return home to face Kansas State, a team they have yet to see this year due to the Wildcats’ COVID issues. “We’ve got a lot of games coming up quickly; it’s that time of year where you have to have a short memory. We will move on and refocus, get ready for a team we haven’t seen yet that’s playing some of their best basketball after being off for almost a month.” The Wildcats come to town Wednesday for a 6:30pm tip-off at Schollmaier Arena.