The Frogs were tough on defense, forcing sixteen turnovers, but were out-rebounded by a two-to-one margin, 52-26. The Mountaineers had 21 offensive rebounds, a stat that was ultimately too difficult for TCU to overcome.
“West Virginia is the most physical team in the league,” TCU coach Jeff Mittie said. “Our rebounding numbers were pretty poor, and you have to do a lot of good stuff to balance those numbers out.”
TCU suffered an immediate blow to its rebounding strength when 6-foot-4 senior center Latricia Lovings earned two fouls in the first four minutes of the game.
“It puts us at a disadvantage when she’s not in the game,” Mittie said.
Lovings tallied seven blocks in twenty minutes of play, but her four fouls limited her time on the court. She currently 279 blocks in her career at TCU, which is the second-most in school history.
Medley did her part to overcome the rebounding deficit. She made her first four shots to open up the second half for TCU and knocked down key three pointers to keep the Frogs close.
Junior guard Natalie Ventress earned the praises of Mittie with her fifteen-point performance, and fellow junior guard Donielle Breaux provided some key bursts of energy in the second half for the Frogs.
TCU trailed at the half, 28-27, but a steal from junior forward Chelsea Prince and layup early in the second period gave the Frogs their first lead since the 17:58 mark in the first half, and Medley added a 3-pointer, one of her three of the night, seconds later to extend the fragile lead.
TCU and WVU would trade leads throughout the second half, with neither team leading by more than seven points in the entire game.
West Virginia’s Preseason All-Big 12 Asya Bussie routinely used her 6-foot-4 height to grab offensive rebounds over the shorter Frogs, and her 19 points and 15 rebounds led the Mountaineers.
The Mountaineers grabbed the lead for good on a Bussie three-point play with 4:25 left in the game.
WVU would lead by as many as six before Medley made two free throws with 1:36 left to cut it to four.
TCU fouled West Virginia to get the ball back, and the strategy continued to work. The Mountaineers missed four out of five free throws to allow TCU to battle back to a 63-62 disadvantage on a Medley layup with 37 seconds remaining.
The Frogs couldn’t find the basket after that, however, and WVU made three more free throws to seal the game.
The loss dropped the Frogs to 12-9 (3-6 in Big 12), and elevated the Mountaineers to 19-3 (8-2 in Big 12). TCU has now dropped two straight games at home after starting off with a 10-1 record at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
TCU next plays at No. 23-ranked Iowa State (16-5, 5-5 Big 12) on Feb. 5. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. from Ames, Iowa.