Less than two minutes into Wednesday night's home game against UNLV, TCU women's coach Jeff Mittie had to call a timeout.
"No energy," Mittie shouted to his players, who were moving slowly on defense as UNLV's Jamie Smith hit a three for an early 7-2 Rebels lead.
The Horned Frogs (8-10, 1-2 Mountain West) did pick up their energy but still couldn't match UNLV's 3-point shooting and inside play in a 72-57 loss.
"UNLV had all of the energy, and we certainly didn't play with the type of energy necessary," Mittie said. "We can't afford to play with that lack of urgency."
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The Rebels (13-5, 2-1) shot 50 percent from behind the arc, making 9 of 18 3-pointers, six in the first half. UNLV also outscored the Frogs 16-6 in the paint in the first half.
"The year has a lot of ebbs and flows to it, but the leadership in that locker room needs to take hold, and as a group we need to be more consistent," Mittie said. "I'm not seeing that right now."
TCU cut UNLV's lead to three points at 17-14, but the Rebels hit four long-range shots and outscored the Frogs 21-7 to end the first half.
TCU freshman Natalie Ventress broke a four-minute scoring drought with a 3-point shot from the corner with 44 seconds left in the first half, but the Frogs still trailed 38-21 at the break.
"[UNLV] had everything they wanted early," Mittie said. "They were getting into their offense quicker than we were getting set. They got into a really good rhythm. While they didn't come into to the game as a really good shooting team, they just never seemed to cool off."
TCU trailed by as many as 25, down 51-26 five minutes into the second half. But Ventress and senior Antoinette Thompson led a 20-4 TCU run to pull within nine points.
The Frogs cut the lead to eight later in the half, 63-55, after Meagan Henson made a fast-break layup, drew a foul and hit the free throw.
"We had better energy in the second half, but you can't play just 15 minutes of a game and expect to come out victorious," Mittie said.
TCU couldn't complete the comeback, however, as Smith hit two more 3s late to seal the victory for the Rebels.
"You have to play pretty close to perfect, and we didn't," Mittie said.
Ventress scored 16 of her career-high 23 points in the second half. Thompson added 13 for TCU, and Latricia Lovings blocked six shots, the most for any TCU player since 2005.
TCU will travel for two consecutive conference road games, at Boise State on Saturday and at Air Force on Wednesday.
Brent Shirley, 817-390-7760