TCU

Okonkwo does what she can but Brown, No. 1 Baylor simply too much to overcome

Baylor center Kalani Brown, right, reacts to her score while heading up court with TCU forward Yummy Morris, left, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Rod Aydelotte)
Baylor center Kalani Brown, right, reacts to her score while heading up court with TCU forward Yummy Morris, left, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Rod Aydelotte) AP

Senior forward Amy Okonkwo dropped a season-high 28 points for TCU but it wouldn’t be enough to knock off No. 1-ranked Baylor in an 89-71 loss to the Lady Bears on Saturday at the Ferrell Center.

“Not the result we came here for but I’m always proud of our team and the toughness they continue to show,” TCU head coach Raegan Pebley said.

Okonkwo brought the fire to Waco, knocking down her first four 3-pointers and led all scorers with 18 points at the half as TCU (17-6, 7-5 Big 12) trailed 38-31 heading into the locker room. Okonkwo finished 9 of 13 from the floor, including going 4 of 7 from beyond the arc.

“I think we needed more movement and to make the defense work,” Okonkwo said. “We needed to create those open opportunities not only for myself, but for the rest of my team.”

Player of the year candidate Kalani Brown proved to be a true mismatch for Baylor (21-1, 11-0 Big 12), scoring 32 points on 11 of 12 shooting from the floor. Brown used her 6-foot-7 frame to record her 4th career 30-point game.

Mostly being guarded by Brown, TCU’s leading scorer Jordan Moore couldn’t find her offensive rhythm in being held to six points. Junior guard Jayde Woods was the only other Frog in double-digit scoring with 10 points.

“Whether we win or lose, whether we play the No. 1 team in the country – we try and handle things very routine and you learn as much from your wins as you do your losses,” Pebley said.

As a team the Frogs struggled from 3-point range shooting 30 percent and 61 percent from the free throw line.

Baylor’s ball movement was crisp as it recorded 30 assists as a team and shot 83 percent in the fourth quarter. The Lady Bears won the rebound battle, 33-27, and both teams had 15 turnovers.

TCU looks to bounce back as they head home to match up against Iowa State on Wednesday for a 6:30 tip. Baylor, winners of 13 straight, travel to take on Kansas State at 7 p.m.

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Sports editor William Wilkerson is back for his second stint with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He first worked at the paper after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin. He most recently was the Executive Editor of College-Team Sites for CBS Interactive/247Sports and has also worked at ESPN, Scout.com and the Austin American-Statesman.
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