In its first Big 12 tournament test Friday, TCU will see if it can keep up its recent dominance over Kansas.
If the Horned Frogs pass that one, a far greater test awaits.
The Frogs (16-13, 8-10 Big 12) come into Friday’s opening-round matchup with Kansas having won five of the past six meetings in the series, including both this year. The most recent episode came in fairly ragged form, though, in Monday’s 55-52 win over the Jayhawks (5-24, 0-18) at Schollmaier Arena.
1-of-12 3-point shooting by players other than Zahna Medley in TCU’s 55-52 victory over Kansas in its regular-season finale.
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Senior and first-team all-Big 12 selection Zahna Medley carried TCU with 21 points on 3-of-6 3-point shooting and 10 of 10 free throws to move in front of Sandora Irvin as the program’s all-time leading scorer. The rest of the team went 1-of-12 from long distance as the offense struggled without suspended seniors Veja Hamilton and Destynee Hives-McCray.
TCU coach Raegan Pebley said the suspension for the pair was an indefinite one and that their availability for big 12 tournament games would be a game-time decision against Kansas.
There has to be a concerted effort to do better than we did on the glass.
TCU coach Raegan Pebley on how TCU needs to rebound better than it did against Kansas on Monday
In the teams’ first meeting with a full complement of scorers, TCU pounced on a sputtering Kansas offense in a 70-44 win at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan. It all projects to a closer third matchup than TCU would like, and Kansas is just the first bump on a menacing journey through the Big 12 field.
“Both teams had a hard time getting the ball in the hole [Monday],” Pebley said. “Our zone was disruptive, so we may go to that a little more, but mainly we’ve got to rebound a lot better. There has to be a concerted effort to do better than we did on the glass.”
Kansas outrebounded the Horned Frogs 43-39 and came up with 14 offensive rebounds to keep things close down to Monday’s final minute.
If the Frogs can get their third win of the season over Kansas, they’ll face No. 6 Texas on Saturday. Texas swept the Frogs in the regular season, most recently in a 71-58 victory on Feb. 27.
The Horns, the conference’s No. 2 seed, might be the only team in the Big 12 built to challenge frontrunning Baylor, ranked No. 4 in the country and the favorite to win the tournament and earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which starts March 18.
“When you hit postseason tournament time, you’ve got to see it as a new season,” Pebley said. “Everyone’s got renewed energy and a renewed set of goals, and we’re treating Kansas as if there were a brand new opponent.”
TCU women vs. Kansas
8:30 p.m. Friday
Big 12 tournament
at Oklahoma City
8. Iowa State vs. 9. Texas Tech, 6 p.m.
7. TCU vs. 10. Kansas, 8:30 p.m.
4. Oklahoma State vs. 5 Oklahoma
1. Baylor vs. Iowa State/Texas Tech, 1:30 p.m.
2. Texas vs. TCU/Kansas, 6 p.m.
3. West Virginia vs. 6. Kansas State, 8:30 p.m.
Semifinals, 1:30 and 4 p.m.
Championship, 8 p.m.