Coaches will often tell you that they really don’t find out the true fabric of their team until its tested on the road, away from the friendly confines of its home arena.
Well, TCU women’s basketball head coach Raegan Pebley is about to learn a whole lot about her 6-1 squad on Wednesday when the Frogs put their three-game winning streak on the line against No. 21 Texas A&M in the Maggie Dixon Classic. Tip is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Reed Arena in College Station and can be seen on the SEC Network.
Granted, TCU is 3-0 away from Schollmaier Arena this season, having defeated SMU in Dallas (64-58) on Nov. 14 and then getting victories over Arizona (68-59) and Idaho (86-76) in the Warner Center Thanksgiving Classic held in Northridge, Calif.
But facing a ranked opponent in its own building, chomping at the bit to wash out the taste of a recent loss to No. 11 West Virginia, is a completely different challenge.
“This is a great test for our team playing an experienced and ranked team on the road,” Pebley said. “A game like this gives us a chance to see where we have grown as a group and what we can still focus our development on during these final weeks of nonconference.”
Pebley hopes her team continues down the path its created this season, which has led to the program’s best start since 2008-09 and is coming off a 21-point win over Alabama in the Big 12/SEC Challenge last week. Jordan Moore led TCU with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Kianna Ray tied a career-high with 16 points.
That victory over the Crimson Tide came after the Frogs scored a season-high 33 points in the third quarter that turned a halftime hole into a 22-point lead entering the fourth quarter. TCU fell behind early because of 13 first-half turnovers, but only committed three in the second half.
Pebley knows it’s going to take focus on both sides of the ball to upend an Aggies team that has four players averaging double-figure points, led by freshman guard Chennedy Carter (19 points per game).
“Texas A&M challenges teams in a lot of facets with their play,” Pebley said. “They are not one dimensional in where they get their scoring from. Our defense will need to be focused. We will need to be equally balanced in our attack offensively.”
Competition aside, this game also represents the honoring of the late Maggie Dixon, sister of TCU men’s coach Jamie Dixon, who passed away on April 6, 2006 of an arrhythmia just weeks after leading Army West Point to its first NCAA Tournament in her first season as head coach.
“Maggie represented everything that is good in our sport,” Pebley said. “Her enthusiasm, her mindset, her commitment, her family all are what made her uncommon and special. It is truly an honor to compete in the Maggie Dixon Classic and we are grateful for the opportunity.”