Nothing strikes fear into the heart of a procrastinating man like the realization that Valentine’s week has arrived. This commercialized booby trap of a holiday is treacherous in any household. What is the perfect gift demonstrative of your relationship? An especially tough question when at other times of the year both partners acknowledge the contrived and overblown farce mostly targeted toward young couples to capitalize on our consumerism and line the pockets of Hershey and Hallmark executives. In the coupling of hardwood squads at TCU, it is definitely the men who should be searching their souls and pocketbooks to show their love and admiration of the Lady Frogs this Friday.
Coach Reagan Pebley’s ladies continue to strangle their second position in the Big 12 behind the second-ranked Baylor Bears. A week of rest between games obviously rejuvenated Fort Worth’s females, though they seemed sleepy in the first quarter while visiting the Jayhawks on Saturday. The Frogs trailed by seven points to start the second quarter before doubling their first quarter total and adding 34 points by halftime to secure a comfortable lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Guard Lauren Heard proved her player of the week status by collecting a team-best 23 points while receiving solid support from guards Jayde Woods and Jaycee Bradley, who scored 15 and 11 points, respectively. Kansan guards Zakiyah Franklin and Aniya Thomas were only one point short of 50 between them, but the Frogs proved the more complete team as the purple punishers sported seven hoopers with at least seven points logged. The TCU women’s basketball team swept Kansas for the regular season and will travel south toward Wacoland to take their shot at the queens of the conference this Wednesday. The Bears will be heavily favored, especially on their home court, but our ladies are as likely as anyone to upset them should Baylor start lethargic or struggle to find offense footing.
Whenever I meet one of my wife’s colleagues, I always introduce myself as her lesser half. While the statement is meant in jest, it is also objectively accurate. If we’re considering TCU hoops a couple this season, that statement is emphatically accurate. Despite sitting one game ahead of Iowa State and seventh overall in the conference, our boys are wasting away. Their one-point loss to Texas and decisive beating by Baylor are understandable, but last Wednesday’s fall in Stillwater against the Cowboys is a confidence killer. Okie State, who were winless through eight Big 12 tips, won by 15 points thanks to sloppiness from coach Jamie Dixon’s distressed hoopers. TCU turned the ball over at twice the clip of OSU and shot a disappointing 21 percent from long range. The weekend prompted a “white out” –– which, we can agree, is redundant –– at Schollmaier Arena as the Frogs hosted third-ranked Kansas. The Jayhawks are one of the few teams in the conference besides TCU who rely on a feature center player, and, damn, he’s good. Udoka Azubuike absolutely destroyed the forwardless Frogs for 20 points and 15 rebounds. Purple big man Kevin Samuel looked hapless trying to defend his more athletic nemesis. Azubuike also limited Samuel to a fat goose egg offensively. Star Frog guard Desmond Bane scored 20 but found little support from his brethren. Kansas point guard Devon Dotson notched a double-double with points and assists and combined with Azubuike was only eight points short of matching Dixon’s entire lineup’s production. Kansas’ humble 60 points were more than enough to down our boys, who could only piece together 46 while shooting less than 40 percent from the field.
Then there was Tech. You might remember better times a few weeks ago when the purple and white upset the ranked Raiders in Fort Worth. Monday night, TCU took a long and dusty road to Lubbock, which ended with the Frogs’ sixth-consecutive loss. Apparently, the Red Raiders were nonplussed from their defeat in Cowtown and proceeded to throw haymakers while our hometown heroes cowered in the fetal position. Dixon and company trailed by 25 at halftime, and the final whistle mercifully punctuated TCU’s worst loss of my lifetime, 88-42. Tech shot 60 percent from the field and nearly the same from long range while committing less than a third of the turnovers of the Froggies. In short, Dixon’s lineup is screwed. There are no starting forwards on this team save for Samuel, who can only partially fill the role. Point guard play is lacking the dynamism of former Frog Alex Robinson with no threats of driving to the hoop. The lack of size leaves our men vulnerable to teams with talented inside players or athletic guards. Only three winnable games remain for this battered team, two of which are this week in the form of hosting Kansas State this weekend and a Wednesday work trip to Austin. Maybe Dixon’s disciples can ask their female counterparts to be their Valentines and search for some tips on how to find their grit.