TCU women’s coach Raegan Pebley stressed a full team effort before the Horned Frogs’ Big 12 clash with No. 14 Texas on Sunday afternoon at the University Recreation Center.
It took strong individual performances from multiple TCU players for the Horned Frogs to leave with a 64-59 win over the Longhorns.
Sunday marked TCU’s second win over a Top 20 team this season after beating then-No. 16 Oklahoma State on Jan. 10.
To combat the strong post play of Texas’ 6-foot-7 post Imani McGee-Stafford and 6-foot-5 center Kelsey Lang, TCU never stayed in one defensive set for more than a few minutes at a time, which helped contribute to 25 Longhorns turnovers, including 19 steals by TCU, a season high.
“The turnovers were the game,” Texas coach Karen Aston said. “We can talk about post play, but the turnovers were the difference in the game, no question.”
The top player in TCU’s press, senior forward Chelsea Prince, led the defensive charge with seven steals, which tied her career high.
Prince was also efficient shooting, going 4-for-7 from 3-point range and finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Prince stretched Texas’ defense by drawing her defender, Lang, out toward the perimeter.
“I just know that they had Kelsey Lang on me and she was sagging and my coach was telling me to shoot the ball when you’re open. If not, we were going to get in trouble, and I don’t want to get in trouble,” Prince said with a laugh.
TCU junior Veja Hamilton finished with a team-high 16 points despite spending significant time on the bench from foul trouble and after receiving a cut near an eye early in the second half.
TCU (13-7, 5-4 Big 12) took a 20-17 lead with 5:57 left in the first half and never trailed again.
Texas (15-5, 4-5) tied the game three times in the second half, the latest at 57 with 2:26 to go.
TCU picked up a technical foul after officials ruled that post Klara Bradshaw came onto the court without being waved in after a foul. That ultimately resulted in four free throws for Texas freshman guard Ariel Atkins, tying the game.
TCU followed with a 3-pointer, a blocked shot and a defensive rebound by Prince to seal the game.
“It’s not just the steals, it’s what she brings and the presence she brings defensively,” Pebley said of Prince. “I loved her confidence offensively as well.”
While McGee-Stafford scored a game-high 22 points, part of Texas’ 38 points in the paint, Bradshaw still managed her best defensive game of the season in 26 minutes, a career high for the 6-foot-6 sophomore.
Bradshaw had five points, four rebounds and three blocks, which followed a 10-point, four-block game against Baylor on Tuesday.
“One of the best things about Klara’s game [today] that I’m proud of was that she put two good performances together with having practices that replicated what you saw in the last game and today,” Pebley said. “Consistency is something that is really important to her and the staff.”
And the TCU crowd recognized the improvement Bradshaw has made in her game, giving the sophomore standing ovations every time she left the game.
“I heard them,” Bradshaw said. “I try not to pay attention to exactly what they’re saying, but I appreciate that. They’ve seen me struggle and they’ve seen me grow. They’ve been there since the beginning and I guess it was nice for them to see me do something positive and contribute to the win.”