Photo by Cristian ArguetaSoto

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TCU women’s basketball had no trouble defeating their second-round WNIT opponent Missouri State Saturday afternoon as efficiency on both ends of the court led to an 86-51 victory over the Lady Bears.

“This was a great day for our program,” TCU head coach Raegan Pebley said. “I loved how we shared the ball and I loved the depth we were able to show in what we were able to contribute on the defensive end.”

The Horned Frogs struggled to score early, committing four turnovers in the opening five minutes. TCU finished with five turnovers in the first quarter, leading to five Missouri State points.

Despite the turnovers, TCU’s defense kept the game close, as four steals and four blocks helped hold the Lady Bears to 35 percent shooting from the field.

The Horned Frogs shot 31 percent from the field on a 4-13 clip in the first quarter and trailed 16-13 after the first 10 minutes. TCU suffered from two separate scoring droughts of at least two minutes.

TCU’s poor offense did not continue into the second quarter as the Horned Frogs went on a 7-0 run early in the quarter to take a 26-24 lead. The run lasted only 51 seconds, and Pebley’s squad made four of five shots to stun the Lady Bears.

The Lady Bears capitalized on three early TCU turnovers in the second quarter to extend their lead before the Horned Frogs began to catch fire from deep. As Jayde Woods cut to the basket midway through the second quarter, she found Amber Ramirez open behind the three-point arc– Ramirez drained the three and was fouled. The four-point play sparked a fire in the Horned Frogs for the rest of the quarter, highlighting a 21-3 run that brought their lead to 10 entering halftime, 40-30.

“At this time of year it’s so important to start right,” Pebley said. “You need to show that you are in it to compete and continue to persevere. We wanted to start out aggressive, so we started with a lineup that was more aggressive on the defensive end. They locked down on the defensive end and contributed some high percentage shots.”

TCU’s defense came alive in the second quarter, holding Missouri State to 4-16 shooting from the field. The Lady Bears ended the half by making only one of their final eight shots with a field goal drought of three minutes and 25 seconds.

As Missouri State continued to struggle in the third quarter, TCU came out of the locker room on fire. The Frogs drained four of their first five shots in the second half to extend their lead to 18 with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter, 51-33.

A quick 6-0 run from Missouri State cut TCU’s lead to 12, but the Horned Frogs responded with an 11-2 run late in the third quarter to push the lead to 21. Missouri State finished the quarter making only one of their final nine shots.

TCU did not let up in the fourth quarter, limiting the Lady Bears to 23 percent shooting and 1o points to seal the victory. Missouri State’s 51 points tie TCU’s defensive record for fewest points allowed in a single game this season.

With its two WNIT games were during spring break, senior Toree Thompson said the team had no issue being prepared to play.

“It gives you a better focus,” Thompson said. “You are able to focus strictly on basketball and that helped us out a lot. We stayed locked in. It means so much to finish my career playing in the postseason. Knowing I can go out in the postseason means a lot.”

The Horned Frogs will play the winner of Tuesday’s game between New Mexico and Rice in the third round of the WNIT.

Pebley is not worried about the layoff.

“We need to rest,” Pebley said. “We have two seniors that are banged and bruised. We will find out who we play Tuesday.”