Emotion spilled onto the faces of the TCU women’s basketball team after a 49-48 loss to No. 11 Oklahoma State on Wednesday at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
In a game in which coaches and players alike believed they did so much right, the end certainly didn’t justify the effort for the Horned Frogs.
“I thought they were excellent,” coach Jeff Mittie said. “I just think they felt that they put everything they had, and they’ve been longing to do that better. I just think the more they invest, when they have something like this, it’s going to hurt more.”
The loss did so to sophomore point guard Zahna Medley, who found herself in the middle of everything as time wound off the clock.
With 17 seconds remaining, senior center Latricia Lovings blocked a shot and pulled down the rebound in what she believed secured a 48-47 TCU win.
An inbounds pass found Medley streaking across the lane and up the sideline, resulting in a quick foul to put Medley on the line for a one-and-one.
Medley entered the game as TCU’s second-best free-throw shooter on the season in attempts with 70 and second in percentage. Medley missed her attempt, and Brittany Atkins grabbed the rebound for Oklahoma State.
“It just sucks not to make the free throw,” Medley said between sobs at the postgame press conference.
After the game, Mittie said he’d take Medley in that situation every time to secure a victory. Wednesday just wasn’t one of those nights.
“That’s the toughest I’ve seen Z,” Mittie said. “I think she’s taking this one hard.
“She’ll be fine. She’ll bounce back. She’s a kid that has a great personality to her. She’ll be smiling tomorrow. That’s just how she is. It’s tough right now, but she’s one of our leaders on this team, and she’ll bounce back.”
Oklahoma State freshman guard Roshunda Johnson, making her first career start, hit the game-winning shot on the next possession for the Cowgirls (18-2, 7-2 Big 12). Johnson finished with her third-best career point total with 10, seven behind game-leader Tiffany Bias’ 17.
Medley still had a successful offensive night with 11 points, finishing just behind team-leader Natalie Ventress’ 12. Medley went 3 for 7 on 3-pointers, marking her first game with three 3-pointers since Dec. 28.
TCU (12-8, 3-5) dominated the first half, tying its season high for most 3-pointers made in a half with six, and the Frogs were shooting 50 percent at the break.
After halftime adjustments, points were much harder to find for both teams, especially with an officiating crew that let both teams play, Mittie said.
Ultimately, a TCU lapse with around 4 minutes left saw OSU complete a 13-point comeback to take a late lead over the Horned Frogs.
A 3-pointer by Medley and a layup from sophomore guard Veja Hamilton saw TCU take back a 48-47 lead, but neither team would score again until Johnson’s game-winner with 9 seconds remaining.
While the loss wasn’t any different than several of the close games TCU dropped last season, Mittie said he saw improvement in his team through the setback that can be carried through the rest of conference play.
“I think they’re all in,” Mittie said. “I’m not saying they weren’t all-in before, but they’re believing now that they should win this game. I’m not sure we believed that a month ago. I’m not sure we believed we should win this game. I think they believed that we should have won this game, and when we invest that much in it, it’s going to hurt more.”