Women’s basketball see season end in 59-53 loss to Arizona in WNIT semifinals

0
1584
Print Article
TCU did its best to overcome 27 percent shooting from the field as a team but fell just short. Photo courtesy of GoFrogs.com

Vying to make the WNIT championship for the first time in the program’s history, TCU women’s basketball couldn’t overcome its worst shooting night of the season, falling to Arizona 59-53 in the WNIT semifinals.

“I am so proud of this entire team,” head coach Raegan Pebley said. “This is a team that continued to fight all year.”

The Horned Frogs shot just 27 percent from the floor as a team in the game, including a 3-15 shooting performance in the third quarter.

Despite playing in front of a near-capacity crowd of 10,135 at the McKale Center in Tucson, Arizona, TCU came out of the gate aggressive, holding the Wildcats scoreless in the first three minutes and taking an early 6-2 lead.

A 10-0 run by Arizona put it ahead 12-9 at the end of the first period, but TCU had made its presence known.

This sequence repeated itself in the second quarter, as the Horned Frogs quickly took a 13-9 lead before allowing four unanswered three-pointers by the Wildcats. This run gave Arizona a 24-13 lead with 5:35 left before halftime.

In her last game in a TCU uniform, center Jordan Moore finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Photo by Heesoo Yang

TCU struggled to contain Wildcats’ guard Aari McDonald in the first 20 minutes, as the junior lead all scorers with 11 points in the first half alone.

McDonald finished the game with 19 points.

Arizona looked to put the game away in the third quarter, hitting two three-pointers in the first few possessions. TCU wouldn’t go away, though, as guard Jayde Woods hit one from behind the arc with six seconds left in the third quarter, cutting the Horned Frogs’ deficit to just seven points with 10 minutes remaining.

Just a few minutes into the fourth quarter, the Wildcats took their largest lead since the second quarter; afterward, the Horned Frogs battled back to come within three points, 46-43, midway through the period.

This moment was the closest TCU got to a comeback, as Arizona hit several clutch shots down the stretch to keep the game out of reach and advance to the WNIT Championship.

“You hear a lot about teams that go through adversity, but this team really went through a lot,” Pebley said. “I am just really proud of how they were able to support each other through it all.”

For the second consecutive game, Jordan Moore and forward Amy Okonkwo both contributed double-doubles for TCU. Moore finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Okonkwo scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

The two seniors combined for 2,838 points in their careers as Horned Frogs, both finishing in the top ten on TCU’s all-time scoring list. 

Shooting 54.7 percent in her tenure at TCU, Moore is the school’s all-time leader in field goal percentage. Okonkwo hit 85 percent of her free throws in her TCU career, the second highest percentage in TCU history.

With a combined 2,838 points, seniors Jordan Moore (22) and Amy Okonkwo (00) finish as two of the best to ever play for TCU. Photo by Heesoo Yang

“Our seniors have meant so much,” Pebley said. “It is immeasurable, and I think we will continue to see the impact they have had on our program in the years to come.”

After reaching the month of April for the first time in the program’s history, TCU finished 24-11 on the season. The 24 wins are tied for second most of all time.