February 13, 2013

TCU women stay winless in Big 12 after losing 22-point halftime lead

Kansas 76 TCU women 75

At halftime Wednesday, TCU's women led Kansas by 22 points and appeared headed to their first Big 12 Conference basketball victory ever.

It looked like they would follow suit with the men's basketball and football teams, which also scored their first Big 12 victories against the visitors from Lawrence, Kan.

But this script had a different ending as TCU coughed up its big lead in a heartbreaking 76-75 loss at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum that left the stunned Frogs 0-12 in their new conference.

"If we're good enough to beat Kansas by 22 in the first half, they're good enough to beat us by 23 in the second half. I can assure you that," Jeff Mittie said of TCU, which fell to 7-16 overall.

TCU stormed to a 20-8 lead in the first quarter and kept pulling away behind the deadly 3-point shooting of freshman guard Zahna Medley.

Medley was 6 of 8 from long range in the half and went to intermission with 27 points as TCU led 49-27. She would finish the game with a career high 35 points, the fourth-highest single-game total all-time for a TCU woman.

Of TCU's 49 points in the first half, 44 came from freshman Medley, Kamy Cole and Veja Hamilton.

However, everything seemed to fall apart as soon as the second half began.

Kansas (15-8, 6-6 in the Big 12) opened the half on a quick 7-0 run and kept cutting into the deficit. Kansas shot 40 percent in the second half while TCU cooled considerably to 23.5 percent for the half.

"It was a tale of two halves," Mittie said. "As good as we played the first half, we couldn't play any worse the second half. You can't do that. You can't play that way and expect to win. It doesn't matter how big of a lead you've got, you have to play 40 minutes and we're struggling to do those things."

With four minutes to play, a foul and then a technical foul on sophomore guard Natalie Ventress let Kansas climb within a point. The Jayhawks took their first lead of the game with 3:29 left on a jumper by Monica Engelman.

TCU found itself down by one with 14 seconds left. Cole hoisted the final shot in the lane for the win, but had it blocked by Chelsea Gardner.

Being so close to that first conference win again made this game as painful as any the Horned Frogs have lost this season, and they've had a few go right to the wire.

"This one was obviously different because of the lead," Mittie said. "That was a big halftime lead.

"Once again, the start of the half has been as opposite as the start of the games for us. We've come out at the start of games on people, the last five games, very good, but the start of the half has been bad coming out of halftime. ... This one stings, obviously."

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