The women’s basketball team is back to its winning ways, hitting a season-high 32 free throws and getting a huge night from its bench.
The Lady Frogs shot .842, hitting 32 of their 38 attempts from the charity stripe. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas had only 14 free-throw attempts for the game and lost by double digits for the third straight game, falling to TCU 87-57.
Leading TCU in scoring was freshman guard Helena Sverrisdottir, who led all scorers with 15 points. She shot 5 of 7 from the field and drained 5 free throws.
TCU hit its first 11 free throws, going 16-20 in the first half and 16-18 in the second.
“We were going to get there [the free-throw line] a lot because we were in the bonus early,” head coach Jeff Mittie said. “(If) you convert on those and shoot them well it can really hurt the other team.”
With a 34-23 advantage over UNLV (8-19, 4-10) to start the second half, the Lady Frogs could have tried to slow the game down. For the Lady Rebels, that would not be the case. TCU (18-10,11-3)was riding a 14-8 run five minutes into the second half, pushing the lead to 17, which was just 2 points shy of their biggest lead in the game.
The Lady Frogs’ penetrating offense got 30 points in the paint. This also opened up the perimeter game for TCU’s shooters who knocked down 7 of 14.
Freshman forward Emily Carter was perfect from long-distance burying. She scored 12 points in the game, leading a bench that contributed 46. The Lady Rebels had only 18 points come from their reserve players.
Carter’s final 3-pointer came with just over two minutes left in the game, putting the nail in the coffin.
“I think we executed in the first half well and grabbed a bunch of defensive rebounds,” Carter said. “We used that to get out on the break, and a few times I was left open and unguarded out on the wings.”
Complementing Sverrisdottir and Carter on offense was a great effort on defense from senior forward Lorie Butler-Rayford.
Butler-Rayford was a thief all game with 3 steals in the first and five steals for the game.
She played significant defensive minutes guarding UNLV’s key player, senior guard Sequoia Holmes. Holmes leads the team and the Mountain West Conference with an average of 18.9 points per game.
She was held to .333 shooting from the field and nine points.
“Lorie defended her very well and did not give her anything easy,” Mittie said. “She did not get many free throws and we forced her to become a jump shooter.”
In the first half, the Lady Frogs had three different runs in which they outscored UNLV by 8 points or more. Their largest lead in the first half, 19 points, came with 5:43 left to play.
“We are playing well right now,” Cater said. “We know that the tournament is only a couple of weeks away and we need to be ready.”
The Lady Rebels did manage a run of their own. They were able to get a 5-0 run over a two-minute stretch late in the first half. UNLV cut TCU’s lead to just nine points.
It, however, would be short lived.
The Lady Rebels had 15 fouls in the first half, putting TCU in the bonus and double bonus for much of the half.
“I think our whole team is just playing better basketball right now,” Mittie said. “Our bench is capable of scoring and playing at the level that we expect from the starters.”