For the majority of the season, TCU’s five-guard lineup has been a strength of a team that uses an aggressive full-court press to create scoring chances off of turnovers.
But the Horned Frogs’ lack of defensive presence in the post was their undoing Saturday in a 97-81 loss to Oklahoma at the University Recreation Center that ended TCU’s three-game conference win streak.
The Sooners (11-5, 5-0 Big 12) posted 46 points in the paint to TCU’s 18 and shot 58.3 percent from the field, aided by high-percentage shots down low.
Kaylon Williams, a 6-foot-3 junior forward, tallied most of Oklahoma’s points in the paint, scoring a career-high 25 points. She also grabbed 12 rebounds.
However, it was a pick-your-poison situation for the Horned Frogs as Oklahoma also shot 60 percent from behind the 3-point arc, including a 6-for-8 performance from sophomore guard Gioya Carter.
“Kaylon Williams is a very good post player, but she also has good shooters around her. That makes her even better,” TCU coach Raegan Pebley said. “I felt that our rotations were really delayed.”
While the defense struggled in the post, TCU’s offense matched OU punch for punch, shooting 54.2 percent from the field, a season high, and 48 percent from behind the arc.
Junior guard Veja Hamilton and senior guard Natalie Ventress led the Horned Frogs (11-5, 3-2) with 23 points apiece.
With an 11-for-17 performance from the field Saturday, Hamilton is shooting 59 percent during conference play and leads the team with 16.8 points per game.
While points in transition off turnovers and points from behind the arc were available for TCU throughout the game, the Frogs struggled getting to the free-throw line, making only 5 of 8 attempts.
“That’s something we felt coming into the game we would be able to do if we executed our offensive game plan well because they have a tendency to foul a lot,” Pebley said.
Emotions were high from the opening tip-off with a standing-room-only crowd that was noisy throughout the game, and things got chippy late, resulting in a double-technical foul on TCU junior guard Zahna Medley with 44 seconds remaining in the second half.
“It was a physical game the entire game,” Pebley said. “That’s how OU plays, and I feel we were pretty physical and up-tempo. In the end, their 3-point shot ... we didn’t defend that well enough throughout the game.”