The Lady Frogs needed a convincing win after Brigham Young University came into Daniel-Meyer Coliseum earlier in the week and gave the team its first conference loss in a 16-point beating. Fortunately for Jeff Mittie’s squad, the team proved it could out-athlete the Air Force Academy Saturday, winning 79-43.
“The first half I thought was just kind of up and down,” TCU head coach Jeff Mittie said. “Over the course of the game we played much better. Twenty-four assists and only nine turnovers are pretty good numbers.”
The Falcons (4-13; 0-4 MWC) could not keep up with the Lady Frogs’ superior athleticism, but TCU (11-6; 3-1) kept Air Force in the game by virtue of its own errors. TCU overcame a sloppy start on both halves of the court, as the Lady Frogs failed to secure rebounds and had trouble handling the ball early on.
The Falcons only lead came in the first minute of play. The Lady Frogs began to pull away early thanks to the speed of junior guard TK LaFleur and a solid complementary performance from sophomore guard Helena Sverrisdottir, who added 15 points, six rebounds and a team-high six assists in 28 minutes of work.
Mittie said he was mostly happy with the team’s ability to pass the ball.
“I think we got [the ball] to the right person, but I think we’re still a hair late,” Mittie said. “In the second half, we were yelling when someone was open and when we’re really clicking we don’t have to do that.”
LaFleur, who finished the game with 18 points and nine rebounds, said her teammates helped her have a successful night on the court.
“I was just playing and feeding off my teammates,” LaFleur said. “It was a team effort and good timing from my teammates.”
TCU moved its lead to 34-24 by halftime, with Air Force unable to close the gap and the Lady Frogs unable to put the game away. A guard-heavy lineup quickly changed that in the second half.
“We were playing with essentially five guards [in the second half],” Mittie said. “I’m not very happy right now with our inside play and the rebounding and the toughness that they are capable of giving us is very spotty right now.”
Mittie said the interior players improved after halftime.
In the second half, TCU’s small lineup came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders.
“We just moved the ball really well, and when we’re hitting our shots it’s going to be hard to beat us,” sophomore forward Emily Carter said.
TCU’s lead grew to an insurmountable 45-24, and Air Force would never get within 20 of the Lady Frogs again.
“I just talked at halftime that we were going to fly around and be active and get loose balls, and we saw more hustle plays in the second half,” Mittie said.
The Falcons were held to only 22.6 percent shooting in the second half, while TCU improved to 48 percent shooting in the game, allowing coach Mittie to give some of his starters an extended break in the second half, a welcomed rest with two important games coming this week.
Aside from the Lady Frogs’ lacking inside game, Mittie said the team needs to work on its focus as the season continues.
“This is a relatively young group that to me has lost some focus and preparation going in to games,” Mittie said. “They need to understand that that has to get better throughout the course of the season.”
Up next for the Lady Frogs are two games on the road against the University of Wyoming and the University of New Mexico.
The Lady Frogs will return to Daniel-Meyer Coliseum Jan. 28 to face San Diego State University.