Oklahoma City, OK — The TCU Horned Frogs (19-11, 9-9) advanced to the semi-finals of the Big 12 Conference Women’s Basketball Championship for the first time, defeating the Oklahoma Sooners (16-14, 11-7) 90-83 in the first quarterfinals game on Saturday at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.
Both teams arrived in Oklahoma City after suffering road losses at the end of regular season conference play. TCU lost at Oklahoma State (85-72) and Oklahoma lost to Texas (79-66).
TCU head coach Raegan Pebley said her team arrived hungry after dropping its last game.
“We were pretty empty last year when we came here physically and emotionally,” Pebley said. “This year I really felt like we still had a lot in our tank left and the performance tonight, I think, showed that.”
1) TCU’s perimeter play made the difference
TCU was 10-of-20 on the game from three-point range. They shot an impressive 85.7 percent from behind the arc in the second quarter alone. Amy Okonkwo was 3-of-4 from three-point range, and Dakota Vann also knocked down three triples for the Horned Frogs.
Oklahoma head coach Sheri Coale said her team didn’t have an answer to TCU’s second-period momentum.
“It’s easy to get off of that ( being mentally focused) if you get shocked, and they shot 60 percent from the three in the first half and 80-something in the second quarter,” Coale said. “So that’s just one of those things that pops you back for a minute.”
2) Oklahoma made a strong comeback
TCU’s largest lead was 21 points with 2:01 left in the second frame.
Oklahoma made an impressive comeback the second half. The Lady Sooners cut the lead to one point in the third quarter. The Sooners outscored TCU in the third 20-10, while shooting 50 percent from the field.
Oklahoma’s Maddie Manning said they stopped the three in the second half, but couldn’t maintain the momentum run in the fourth quarter.
“I think the second half urgency was just being connected with the team,” Manning said. “It wasn’t everybody trying to do it themselves.”
Ultimately, it was a strong effort by the Sooners, however, the Horned Frogs never relaxed and once again extended its lead.
3) Vionise Pierre-Louis fouled out
One of the biggest game changers came in the fourth quarter was when Oklahoma’s star center fouled out with 6:18 left in regulation. Pierre-Louis had eight points and 10 rebounds, just shy of a double-double.
Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale said Vionise getting in foul trouble changed the team’s approach.
“Vionise getting in foul trouble obviously completely changes the complexion of the game,” Coale said. “But we have to be better than that. We have to score anyway.”
With the win, TCU will now face the winner of Kansas State and Baylor on Sunday at 2 pm ET on FS1.