I’m guilty as any of fawning over TCU’s male athletes while under-reporting the accomplishments of our female Frogs. Fort Worth hoop heads undoubtedly finished the week feeling frustrated after watching men’s basketball botch a winnable home tip against Shaka Smart’s Longhorns. Coach Jamie Dixon has excelled overall against Texas in the past, and despite TCU’s limitations, they’ve remained feisty in the Fort before last Wednesday. Early game foibles left our boys hastily chasing the Horns late in the second half. Another monster performance from center Kevin Samuel and an equally impressive performance from wildcard guard RJ Nembhard couldn’t elevate TCU over UT and their 11 of 22 three-point shooting. The hometown heroes trailed by a single point to the Bevos with more than a minute remaining. It proved too much to overcome despite multiple possessions and shots on goal. The purple men fell to 4-4 in conference play, leaving them equal in record with the Austinites but trailing in a head-to-head tiebreak scenario.
No one should’ve expected our posse to invade Fixer Upper-Land and leave with an upset over top-ranked Baylor. There wasn’t much drama as Dixon’s disciples kept pace early in an appreciably low-scoring game only to be downed by the Bears’ attacking guards and multiple athletic forwards. Waco’s warriors are cruising on an 18-game winning streak while TCU careens toward a ditch on a three-game skid. The men will try to regain traction in Stillwater this week by hopefully sweeping OK State before hosting third-ranked Kansas at Schollmaier Arena this weekend. KU represents the purple and white’s second game in a week in which their best chance at victory is hoping the Jayhawks play their worst game while the good guys conjure their best.
Now is as good a time as ever to give the Lady Frogs their due. Head coach Raegan Pebley has maneuvered her fearsome female Frogs to second place among Big 12 squads. Sadly, the ladies’ half of the conference isn’t receiving nearly the national recognition the men’s is. Baylor’s Lady Bears sit third in the AP poll, but no other conference member is ranked, while TCU and Texas are relegated to the “others receiving votes” category. Despite the polls, Pebley’s purple players persevere while delivering a unique potluck style of steals, blocks, and three-point shooting. After 20 games, our girls have lost only four tips and twice in conference: one stumble against Baylor by nine points and the other to an unpredictable Texas Tech squad who in a 30-day span has scored as few as 50 points in a game and as many as 115. TCU also fell pre-conference to then-15th-ranked Texas A&M by two points in College Station for what should be considered an impressive loss if there is such a thing. It’s definitely a thing.
The Lady Frog stats aren’t overwhelming. Perusing the conference statistics wouldn’t lead you to believe our group could possibly be holding steady as Big 12 runner-up. Resilient and hard fought victories are the game plan week after week. Pebley and company visit Kansas on Saturday to start their second spin around the conference. Keeping in mind that Baylor is dominating almost every statistical category, TCU’s countesses of the court grind their opponents down thanks to offensive rebounding and perimeter defense. Team scoring isn’t their strength, but the outstanding three-point accuracy of guards Jaycee Bradley and Kianna Ray –– who are second and fourth in the conference, respectively –– help keep games within reach. Lauren Heard, a junior guard out of Denton, is the fifth-ranked scorer in the conference, averaging more than 17 points per appearance. Ray and Heard are combining for nearly 30 points per game. This devious duo are also the leading conference thieves amassing a combined 89 steals. Road or home seems irrelevant to these ballers. If you want a chance to be excited about a home team in the NCAA tournament, then it might behoove you to start paying attention to Fort Worth’s finest females, because they’re clearly better dancers than the men this season.