With two starters on the bench in foul trouble, TCU couldn’t hold off No. 20 West Virginia on Saturday at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, dropping its third straight game 66-62.
Senior center Latricia Lovings saw just 20 minutes of action after getting into early foul trouble. Lovings had averaged 29.9 minutes per game heading into Saturday’s contest.
Averaging 7.9 rebounds per game, Lovings’ absence sorely depleted TCU’s rebounding, leading to a 52-26 margin in West Virginia’s favor.
“Obviously, the story is rebounding,” TCU coach Jeff Mittie said. “We couldn’t rebound the basketball, and they got a lot of extra chances. And when they get that many extra chances, bad stuff is going to happen.”
Mittie felt he was in a constant conversation with the officials about “inconsistencies” in the game, not only with fouls, but with issues regarding jump balls and timeouts.
“I felt like there were things that were going on that shouldn’t be going on,” Mittie said.
However, a physical game was expected from West Virginia (19-3, 8-2 Big 12), which runs its offense through 6-foot-4 senior center Asya Bussie. She finished with a team-high 19 points and 15 rebounds.
TCU (12-9, 3-6) remained in the game with hustle on defense. The Frogs forced 16 turnovers thanks, in part, to a full-court trap defense. TCU turned those turnovers into 21 points.
“[The press] was just to be aggressive offensively,” junior guard Natalie Ventress said. “We get a quick steal and a quick two points to get back into it.”
Ventress finished with 15 points for TCU. Sophomore guard Zahna Medley had a game-high 29 points.
“We just knew we had to have a better offensive shooting night,” Medley said. “We focused more on our shots and tried to hit them.”
TCU led 52-46 with 7:50 left but WVU went on a 13-2 run and held on with free throws after the lead was cut to 63-62.
“I’m disappointed we weren’t able to finish this,” Mittie said. “I think the physicality of the game — it seemed more like a wrestling match at times out there.
“I said the other night, we’re going to be in a lot of games like this. We just are. If we keep fighting like that, we’ll get our share of them.”