It was a memorable Wednesday night for the TCU women’s basketball team as head coach Jeff Mittie won his 300th career game at TCU and junior forward Natalie Ventress scored her 1,000th career point in a 64-44 win over the Kansas State Wildcats.
Ventress and Mittie were both doused with water in a celebratory scene in the locker room following the game, a contest that was close early but never in doubt later on.
The milestones set by the Frogs (15-11, 6-8 Big 12) played a nice compliment to the Frogs For The Cure theme of the night. TCU wore pink jerseys, Mittie sported a pink vest and tie and breast cancer survivors were honored throughout the game.
The Frogs trailed early but went on a 27-3 run starting with 14:53 left in the first half, giving them a 29-13 lead heading into the break. This allowed Ventress to properly enjoy her achievement.
“It’s such a blessing,” Ventress said. “My mom was in the stands, and I really just wanted to get it for her.”
Mittie tried to downplay his accomplishment, saying that he was happier about the team’s fifteenth win of the season, but senior center Latricia Lovings didn’t dismiss the significance of the achievement.
“It was pretty special, and we knew how much it meant to him,” Lovings said.
Lovings and Ventress had tears in their eyes after the game, as the two have played basketball together since their middle school days.
“We’re two little girls from Fort Worth that grew up playing basketball together,” Lovings said. “It’s a blessing to be breaking records side-by-side.”
Lovings had five blocks in the win, which extends her school record of consecutive games with a blocked shot to 65.
Mittie commented on his disbelief that his players had actually pulled off the post game celebratory water dousing.
“They really got me good, it’s amazing. I’ve been avoiding that for twenty years,” Mittie said.
The game started off rocky for the Horned Frogs. Kansas State (10-15, 4-10 Big 12) took a 12-7 lead amidst several TCU turnovers before sophomore guard Zahna Medley, junior guard Chelsea Prince, and Ventress went on a tear midway through the first half.
Medley, Ventress and Prince combined for 42 of the Frogs’ 64 points.
The Frogs took a 13-12 lead on a Prince steal and fastbreak layup with 6:50 left in the first and never looked back.
Kansas State struggled against TCU’s zone defense and managed only one point in the final 10:59 of the first half. They went without a field goal for a 13-minute stretch across both halves.
TCU didn’t lead by less than 15 during the entire second half, and Mittie was able to rest his starters for the last several minutes.
The Wildcats couldn’t seem to find a rhythm on offense, and only one player, freshman forward Breanna Lewis, finished the game in double figures with a game-high 18 points.
Kansas State coach Deb Patterson credited TCU’s defense for playing stingily and was disappointed in her team’s shot selection, saying that her team looked “out-of-character” on several occasions.
“They slapped us silly,” Patterson said. “I felt like we really lost our wits on the offensive end.”
Patterson also congratulated Mittie.
“That is a true milestone,” Patterson said. “It is a very, very difficult task to win 300 games in this league.”
The Frogs will attempt to follow up the win on Saturday against No. 4 Baylor (22-3, 12-1 in Big 12). Tip-off is scheduled for 11 a.m. from Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.