The 33rd try was the charm for the TCU women’s basketball team.
TCU notched its first win over the Texas Longhorns on Sunday, prevailing 54-48 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in the 33rd meeting all time between the two programs.
The win ended the fourth-longest winning streak over a single program in Texas women’s basketball history.
There was no hesitation after the game for TCU’s players — this win was significant.
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“It means a lot,” senior center Latrica Lovings said. “I actually started crying after the game — first time in school history to beat Texas. Coming into this game, we knew how important this was for us as a team, a university and an athletic program to get this win, and we knew we had to do it at home.”
The game had its ups and downs was struggle for the 6-foot-3 center from Fort Worth.
Lovings scored a quick seven points but saw her confidence dissipate at the free-throw line after drawing fouls in the paint.
She finished 2 for 8 on free throws, but the second of those gave TCU (12-6, 3-3 Big 12) a 48-45 lead with 58 seconds left.
Lovings also finished with seven blocked shots, including three within the final 40 seconds to provide TCU with the defensive stand it needed to take the win.
“To seal the game doing what I do best and what I’m on the team for, to get blocked shots and to get that at the end of the game was just perfect,” Lovings said.
She finished with 10 points and six rebounds to go along with her blocks.
TCU went into halftime leading 30-18, but coach Jeff Mittie said the team came into the second half scared to lose the game.
It wasn’t until the final 8 minutes that sophomore Zahna Medley, TCU’s main offensive threat, found her stride driving to the paint and drawing fouls, which Texas coach Karen Aston said was the difference in the game.
At the half, Medley had no points but finished with a team-high 12. Texas forward Nneka Enemkpali also had 12 points to tie for game-high.
Mittie said he gave freshman Jada Butts and junior Chelsea Prince the start Sunday in place of sophomore guard Veja Hamilton and freshman center Klara Bradshaw after the s high-energy finish by Butts and Prince in TCU’s failed comeback bid at Oklahoma State onTuesday, he said.
Butts finished with nine points and six rebounds, and Prince had six points and six rebounds.
“I was impressed with that lineup on film,” Aston said.
For Mittie, who before Sunday had only faced Texas (12-6, 3-3) four times in his 15-year tenure at the TCU helm , the win meant more to recruiting, conference positioning and potential placement into the NCAA Tournament later this spring.
He did not want to downplay what it meant to those who came before him and the alumni base of the TCU athletic program. This is TCU’s second year in the Big 12 after not being included in the new league after the Southwest Conference, in which Texas and TCU were members, dissolved in the mid-1990s.
Mittie, however, certainly couldn’t deny what it meant to his current players Sunday.
“Our players wanted this one bad,” Mittie said.