TCU

Defense leads to offense as TCU routs Sam Houston State

TCU’s Amy Okonkwo, front goes up for the basket as Sam Houston State’s Ashleigh Cooper, left and Angela Delaney try to defend during the third quarter of Tuesday’s game.
TCU’s Amy Okonkwo, front goes up for the basket as Sam Houston State’s Ashleigh Cooper, left and Angela Delaney try to defend during the third quarter of Tuesday’s game. Special to the Star-Telegram

After sputtering to a 28-22 halftime lead against Sam Houston State on Tuesday, TCU had to find a way to spark its offense.

But it was a defensive adjustment that flipped the switch in the Horned Frogs’ 81-37 win at Schollmaier Arena. TCU (2-0) forced 11 Sam Houston turnovers in the third quarter after switching to a half-court trap to start the second half, fueling a 29-3 run that effectively put the game away.

“In general it allowed them to get a little more aggressive, and they knew they had to have each other’s back more,” TCU coach Raegan Pebley said. “When you can generate some scoring through your defense it can make a team feel like they’re playing uphill against you.”

TCU forced Sam Houston State (0-2) into that uphill struggle by allowing just 15 points in the second half. Four Frogs scored in double figures after the sluggish start offensively, led by guard Toree Thompson’s 14. Thompson was one of the few Horned Frogs who was effective on offense in the first half, scoring TCU’s first eight points of the game.

“My teammates got me the ball, I got comfortable quickly and took what the defense gave me,” Thompson said.

Senior Jada Butts and freshman Amber Ramirez caught fire during the decisive third-quarter run. Butts scored the first five points of the third quarter for TCU, including a three-point play off an early turnover that gave the Horned Frogs their first double-digit lead, up 33-22 with 9:32 left in the period.

Ramirez responded after missing her first five field-goal attempts to nail three 3-pointers in a span of 1:20 late in the third and finished with nine points, seven assists and three steals in her second collegiate game. Kianna Ray, another bright spot in this freshman class who has started the first two games, finished with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 2 of 3 from deep.

Amy Okonkwo came off the bench as well for her second consecutive efficient game, finishing with 12 points, 10 rebounds and four steals.

Matthew Martinez; 817-390-7760; @MCTinez817

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