TCU

Okonkwo’s late surge too little, too late for TCU in blowout victory for No. 4 Baylor

Baylor center Kalani Brown (21) looks to shoot after getting past TCU forward Amy Okonkwo (00) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
Baylor center Kalani Brown (21) looks to shoot after getting past TCU forward Amy Okonkwo (00) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins) AP

TCU struggled to find its offensive rhythm and scored just 11 first half points as No. 4 Baylor rolled the Frogs, 79-55, on Saturday in front of 3,844 at Schollmaier Arena.

Losing its last two Big 12 road games, TCU (11-4, 1-3 Big 12) returned home with hopes of dropping a top-5 opponent.

Baylor (13-1, 3-0 Big 12) came out calm offensively, but aggressive on the defensive end holding TCU to 27 percent shooting in the first quarter.

With not much falling, the Frogs found themselves down 16-9 heading into the second quarter.

Baylor’s 6-foot-7 post Kalani Brown, a National Player of the Year candidate, was a menace for Baylor, scoring 10 points and blocking three shots in the first half.

TCU went ice cold in the second quarter as Baylor outscored the Frogs 19-2, with freshman Yummy Morris’ being the lone scorer with two free-throws.

“Slow starts to any Big 12 team is going to be really hard to recover from,” TCU head coach Raegan Pebley said. “I felt like our second half was much better, but our offensive in the first half was uninspiring.”

The Bears forced 14 turnovers in the first half and held TCU to 14 percent shooting across the board to build a 35-11 lead at the half.

TCU was able to find some rhythm to start the second half but its deficit was simply too much to overcome.

“We have to open games with that kind of pep,” Pebley said of Amy Okonkwo’s offensive spark in the second half. “That willingness to play your role, Amy is a scorer for us.”

Okonkwo was the first Frog to hit double-digit scoring, knocking down two 3-pointers in the third quarter to total 11.

In the fourth quarter, TCU full-court pressed and forced back-to-back Baylor turnovers to lead to a quick seven points.

A few quarters too late, Okonkwo started to heat up from the floor scoring seven points in the first three minutes of the fourth.

Shooting over 50 percent as a team, Juicy Landrum scored 16 of her game-high 23 points in the second half to lead Baylor over TCU.

“Work,” commented Pebley on what her message will be to her team following its third-straight loss. “Its work, and we have to set the tone stronger in practice and our leadership has to be a lot stronger from our seniors.”

Okonkwo finished with 20 points and seven rebounds, including four 3-pointers. Jordan Moore posted her third double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Kianna Ray’s 13 points all came in the second half.

Baylor forced 19 turnovers and shot over 50 percent from the field.

TCU will remain at home as Texas Tech heads to Fort Worth on Wednesday with a 6:30 p.m. tip-off.

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