Kianna Ray drives to the basket. Image courtesy of gofrogs.com

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TCU women’s basketball exploded in the second half to defeat New Mexico in the WNIT round of 16 Thursday night, 81-72.

TCU’s hot second half proved to be the difference Thursday. The Horned Frogs were down by as many as 14 in the contest but shot close to 60 percent in the second half and used a 10-1 run to separate themselves from the Lobos. The Horned Frogs scored 29 points in the third quarter to take the lead.

In the third quarter, TCU made 12 of 19 shots and committed only one turnover in the frame compared to 14 in the first half, a major factor in the momentum shift.

The Frogs were not solely focused on offense in the third quarter as they held New Mexico to 3-16 shooting to take charge of the contest.

The Frogs held a six-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, 62-56. The Lobos fought back and cut the deficit to two with three minutes remaining, 71-69.

From that point forward, the Horned Frogs went on a 9-1 run to ice the victory and a berth in the WNIT quarterfinals.

Forward Adeola Akomolafe drained a two-point shot to spark the run, and guard Jayde Woods converted on a three-point play to extend TCU’s lead to six, 76-70. TCU’s defense stood strong and forced two consecutive New Mexico turnovers and capitalized on both, taking a 10-point lead with less than a minute to go.

Woods tied her career-high with 14 points Thursday. and center Jordan Moore led the Frogs with 15 points on 7-9 shooting. Moore has played a stellar WNIT, shooting a combined 19-22 on three games. Both Moore and forward Amy Okonkwo finished with nine rebounds as the Horned Frogs outrebounded the Lobos 42-30.

TCU’s offense in the paint was a major force, as well, as they put up 50 points in the paint, outscoring New Mexico by 24 down low. The Frogs have outscored their three WNIT opponents in the paint by a margin of 136-44.

The Horned Frogs will travel to face South Dakota, who defeated Michigan State in overtime Thursday night, in the quarterfinals. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sunday evening.