No. 24 women’s basketball fall to No. 3 Baylor, 83-63

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No. 3 Baylor’s size and athleticism proved too much for the No. 24 Horned Frogs as TCU fell Saturday night in Waco, 83-63. The Horned Frogs played Baylor evenly in the second half but could not overcome a 20-point first half deficit.

For the third-consecutive game, the Horned Frogs faced a ranked opponent. TCU lost all three games.

“There were some good things out of this game from our team, but we aren’t satisfied,” TCU head coach Raegan Pebley said. “We don’t take any moral victories. We needed to play better transition defense, but I think we embraced the challenge of being physical in the paint. That’s part of being in this conference. Every game is a challenge.”

The Horned Frogs kept close with the Big 12’s best team in the first five minutes. With four minutes and 57 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Baylor led 10-6 with three lead changes.

However, the Horned Frogs were held without a field goal for the final three minutes of the quarter. The Bears blew the game open and finished on an 11-4 run to lead TCU 21-10 after 10 minutes. Turnovers plagued the Horned Frogs in the first quarter as seven total turnovers led to multiple fast breaks and five points off turnovers for Baylor.

The Bears stormed in front and never looked back in the first half. The Horned Frogs were outscored by nine, 23-14, in the second quarter and were held without a field goal for the final two-and-a-half minutes.

TCU coach Raegan Pebley calls a play for her team during the first half. (AP Photo/Jerry Larson)

TCU’s leading scorer Amy Okonkwo and starting center Jordan Moore were forced to play in limited action in the first half. Okonkwo and Moore recorded two fouls in the first six minutes of action, forcing them to watch much of the first half from the bench.

Okonkwo finished the first half with two points and three total minutes of action. Moore totaled four minutes and two points in the first half.

Despite being limited to only 16 minutes of action, Okonkwo finished as TCU’s third-highest scorer with nine points.

“Considering our starting post player with only 13 minutes and our leading scorer with only 16, I was proud of a lot of the grit that we showed,” Pebley said.

The Horned Frogs finished the first half down 44-24, one point away from their current season-low which was set Wednesday against Oklahoma State. TCU shot 30 percent and committed 11 turnovers in the first frame, led by first-year guard Lauren Heard with four points, three rebounds and one assist.

Baylor’s No. 2 scoring offense is highlighted by the¬†frontcourt of sophomore Lauren Cox and junior Kalani Brown. The duo nearly outscored the Horned Frogs on their own, totaling 20 combined points and 11 combined rebounds on a combined 8-9 shooting in the first half. To complete a nearly perfect half, the two only committed one foul.

Baylor center Kalani Brown (21) looks for a shot over TCU forward Amy Okonkwo (00). (AP Photo/Jerry Larson)

Defensively, the Horned Frogs could not find an answer for Brown and Cox in the second half either. The Bears accumulated 42 points in the paint and totaled 42 rebounds. The two scored 39 of those points and totaled 18 rebounds. The Bears shot 55 percent from the field and 41 percent from beyond the arc. Baskets in the paint were hard to come by for TCU as Baylor recorded eight blocks.

Overall, the Horned Frogs shot 34 percent from the field and 32 percent from three-point land. Jayde Woods led the Frogs with 14 points, three rebounds and three assists.

TCU was outrebounded by 11 Saturday, a pleasant sight as Baylor averages a rebounding margin of +20 in Big 12 play.

The Horned Frogs will look to rebound against Iowa State Wednesday in Schollmaier Arena. Tipoff against the Cyclones is set for 6:30 p.m.