TCU has never started this strongly in Big 12 play. The Horned Frogs started 10-2 when they were in the Mountain West in 2010-11, but this year’s 7-5 start in the Big 12 is the best by the women’s basketball team since then.
Those seven wins haven’t come against the teams under them in league standings, as the Horned Frogs are currently fourth in the conference race. After opening up Big 12 play with three straight losses to then No. 9 West Virginia, at Kansas and at Oklahoma, TCU went on a seven-game win streak.
The Horned Frogs topped Texas Tech to get things rolling before a hot shooting performance behind the arc (84.8 percent) led them to an upset win at home over then seventh-ranked Texas. TCU followed that up with an overtime win in Morgantown over No. 15 West Virginia before the Horned Frogs rolled Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Iowa State.
“TCU is a team that plays with a lot of energy, a team that plays physical,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. “They’re not big like 6-4, 6-5, but they’re all 6-0, 6-1. They’re very active on the defensive end. You’ll see them play in a man and then a zone, a 2-3 zone. A much improved team as far as the standings. They’ve beaten some really good teams in our league.”
That seven-game win streak recently came to a halt when Texas exacted revenge and beat the Horned Frogs in Austin. Earlier this week, Oklahoma State held TCU to its lowest point total of the season to get the win in Fort Worth.
Now, the Horned Frogs turn their attention to No. 3 Baylor. TCU looks to defeat its third ranked team this season, something it has done three times in a season twice (2004-05, 2005-06). The Horned Frogs have won just one road game against a top-10 team in program history, at No. 3 California on Dec. 7, 2008.
“I just see a very confident team,” Mulkey said. “I see a team that plays hard start to finish. They’re much more confident now, probably because they’re comfortable with the system but also because they’ve beaten teams that they hadn’t beaten in a while. When you have success it just kind of snowballs.”
TCU is led by Raegan Pebley who is in her fourth season at the helm in Fort Worth. Pebley led the Horned Frogs to back-to-back WNIT berths in her first two seasons. This year, TCU looks to make the NCAA tournament, especially after entering the Associated Press Top 25 Poll for the first time in January since November 2010.
“I think it’s just probably continuity,” Mulkey said when asked about TCU’s turnaround this season. “The coach has her recruits in there. She’s been there a while now. They’re doing things that she’s asked them to do. They just seem to be very comfortable.”
The Horned Frogs are led by Amy Okonkwo who comes off the bench to average 15.7 points per game in addition to shooting a league-high 91.6 percent from the free-throw line. Jordan Moore and Amber Ramirez are the other two TCU players to average double digits with 13.8 and 11.1 points respectively.
Ramirez and Baylor sophomore Lauren Cox were teammates on the 2016 USA Basketball U18 National Team where they won a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championships in Chile. Cox was the team’s leading scorer at 13 points per game and Ramirez was third with 10.8 per game.
“She’s a shooter with a quick release, deep range,” Cox said. “We’re really going to have to guard her. She’ll come in there. She’s like a spark for them.”