Frog fans left wondering what could’ve been after sports put on hold by COVID-19

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TCU baseball looked to be returning to the dominant play they were known for in the 2010s before their season was ended by COVID-19. Photo by Jack Wallace

When Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus on March 11, the sports world turned upside down.

Minutes later, the NBA suspended its season indefinitely, a move that caused the seriousness of the pandemic to sink in for sports fans worldwide.

The next day, the NCAA canceled all remaining winter and spring championships.

The move was one of caution, but it brought heartbreak to dozens of TCU student-athletes who lost their chance to show the nation their talents at the highest level.

Here are the top five moments that Frog fans missed out on because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

No. 5: Football plays first spring game in two years

Who will compete with Max Duggan for the starting quarterback job? Can anyone fill Jalen Reagor’s role at wide receiver? Who has gained the most ground over the offseason?

After TCU’s spring game was canceled in 2019 due to lack of depth, Frog fans looked to answer all of these questions and more at the event previously scheduled for March 28.

After TCU missed a bowl appearance in 2019, Frog fans wonder how quarterback Max Duggan (15) and the team will bounce back. Photo by Heesoo Yang.

Fans will now have to wait until the Frogs open their season at California Berkley on Sept. 5 to see just how good Patterson’s squad will be in 2020.

No. 4: Rifle aims to defend their national title

Perhaps TCU’s most dominant sport, the Horned Frog rifle team looked just as strong in the 2019-20 season as the year prior when they came home with the national title.

Before their season ended abruptly, TCU went 12-1, with their one loss coming in nail-biting fashion to No. 1 West Virginia.

After winning the Patriot Conference Title, the Frogs would have looked to defend their title on March 13 and 14 at the NCAA Championships.

This past weekend, six members of the team (the second-highest total nationally) earned a total of 13 All-American honors from the College Rifle Coaches Association and National Rifle Association.

TCU Rifle competes against Ole Miss on Feb. 1, 2020. Photo courtesy of GoFrogs.com.

No. 3: Baseball looks to return to the CWS

As the 2010s came to a close, D1Baseball.com named TCU Baseball the Big 12 Team of the Decade after the Frogs made four-straight trips to the College World Series from 2014-17.

TCU fell short of that mark in 2018 and 2019, but the 2020 season established themselves as a force to be reckoned with early on with dominant pitching different (second in Big 12 with 2.40 team ERA).

Not only did the Frogs start the season at 11-4, but they were blowing by their opponents. When the season ended, TCU had outscored opposing teams 107-44.

The Frogs had also yet to lose a series, with two of their three series wins coming as sweeps. TCU’s best win of the year came on March 7 as the Frogs defeated No. 2 UCLA 8-4.

No. 2: Desmond Bane plays in his final game for TCU

The suspending of the NBA came after TCU lost to Kansas State in the first round of the Big 12 tournament, 53-49.

Though the defeat ended any chance the Frogs had at making the NCAA Tournament, TCU still had a chance to make their third NIT Tournament appearance in four years.

Along with the NCAA tournament, the NIT was canceled amid the COVID-19 outbreak, meaning senior Desmond Bane would never play again in the purple and white.

While he had played well in his final game (16 points, nine rebounds), the game was not a proper representation for how much he has meant to the program.

Bane leaves TCU as its all-time leader in three-pointers made, games played and games won. He ranks third on the school’s all-time scoring list and in the top ten in most other categories.

No. 1: Women’s basketball finally makes the Big Dance

When head coach Raegan Pebley came to TCU in 2014, her goal was to get the Frogs to their first NCAA Tournament since 2010.

Over the next five seasons, Pebley’s team got about as close as you could get, making four WNIT appearances. In 2019, TCU was one of the first few teams left out of the NCAA tournament field.

The Frogs left no doubt in 2020. Going 22-7 overall and 13-5 in conference play, TCU finished second in the Big 12, their highest conference finish since 2011.

Heading into the Big 12 tournament, the Frogs were listed as a No. 7 seed in the NCAA tournament by ESPN’s Charlie Creme.

Senior Kianna Ray hugs head coach Raegan Pebley during TCU’s senior day presentation. Photo by Heesoo Yang.

With the six Frogs graduating in May, the news hit especially hard as their years of hard work would not be rewarded with a March Madness appearance.

While an extra year of eligibility has been given to those who compete in spring sports, winter athletes were not given that opportunity.

Pebley, along with her players, is hoping that the NCAA will give the seniors affected a “crack at competing for a championship with their current team.”

Amid this COVID-19 outbreak, a lot of uncertainty rests in the hearts of everyone. Even if sports return in the fall, Frog fans will forever have to wonder what could have been for TCU Athletics in the infamous spring of 2020.