Zahna Medley and Natalie Ventress bounce answers off each other like old friends, completing each other’s sentences and laughing at jokes before they tell them.
They are roommates, and Medley calls Ventress “Big Sis” but, in fact, the pair’s relationship only began little more than a year ago.
Still, the bond between them will serve as a key component to the TCU women’s basketball team as it heads into its second Big 12 season. The Horned Frogs debut Nov. 9 against Louisiana-Monroe.
“They are very consistent players, they both know they need to raise their game up a notch, and I think they’ve worked to do that,” head coach Jeff Mittie said. “I think in their off-season this fall, they both have been more vocal leaders than a year ago.”
Medley, a sophomore guard, led the Horned Frogs in scoring last year, averaging 12.9 points a game and earning All-Big 12 Freshman honors. Ventress, the Mountain West Freshman of the Year in 2012, was second in scoring on the team with 11.3 points a game.
Ventress, a junior Fort Worth native, has started in 49-straight games in her two years on the team. Medley, as a newcomer last season, was the only first-year player in the Big 12 Conference to score 35 or more points in a game.
They were a couple bright spots on a TCU team that finished 9-21 overall and 2-16 in conference last year.
Medley said the team’s mentality last year was in the right place.
“Even though we kept losing, we had to come in and expect a win,” Medley said. “When things went bad, we didn’t give up.”
Mittie said he expects more offensive production from Ventress as she adjusts to the Big 12. She led TCU in scoring he first year with 13.4 points a game but had trouble at times last season.
“Ventress went into the year at the top of everyone’s scouting reports,” Mittie said. “I was tough on her because she was being guarded by the best defenders every night.”
As far as Medley goes, Mittie said, she too would have to adjust to the Big 12 again, as teams are familiar with what she can do. Mittie said Medley is more vocal this year.
“Carrying that over into the sophomore year, she’s not an unknown,” Mittie said of Medley. “We’re looking to get more shots out of her this year, and she needs to raise that shooting percentage.”
All in all, Mittie said Ventress and Medley have to continue to step up as leaders if the Frogs want to do better than last year’s last-place Big 12 finish. Ventress and Medley are off to a good start this season, he said.
“They approached the off-season on a mission to not repeat the wins and losses [of last season] because we weren’t very successful on the scoreboard,” Mittie said. “We need them to have big years, and we need both of them to continue to lead.”