Jayhawks’ Comeback Falls Short at TCU, 55-52
FORT WORTH, Texas – Kansas women’s basketball nearly erased a seven-point deficit to TCU with 40 seconds to play, but fell just short, as the Horned Frogs claimed the 55-52 win on Monday night inside Schollmaier Arena.
Six-unanswered points, capped off by a three-point play from sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge brought the Jayhawks (5-24, 0-18 Big 12) to within a single point with 25 seconds left in the game. After a pair of made free throws from senior guard Zahna Medley of TCU, Aldridge earned yet another and-one opportunity, this time to bring the score level. Aldridge’s free throw missed the mark, and ensuing free throws from sophomore guard Chayla Cheadle after an offensive rebound could not find the bottom of the net and TCU escaped with the victory in the regular-season finale.
Aldridge and freshman guard Kylee Kopatich each tallied 10 points on Monday night, tying for the team-high mark. Aldridge netted double figures for the 19th game of the season, while Kopatich posted her 15th double-digit scoring effort. Freshman forward Tyler Johnson led the Jayhawks in rebounds, pulling down seven boards.
Medley led the Horned Frogs (16-13, 8-10 Big 12) in scoring with a game-high 21 points. Medley shot just 4-of-12 from the field, but was perfect at the charity stripe, sinking all 10 of her attempts. Senior forward Caitlin Diaz netted 14 points on 50 percent shooting and tied freshman center Jordan Moore for a team-high seven rebounds.
Both teams struggled to find a find a rhythm in the early going. Kansas grabbed a 6-2 lead with a three-pointer from junior forward Jada Brown at the 4:20 mark. TCU went nearly eight minutes between made field goals, and two free throws from Medley kept the Horned Frogs from being shut out during the same span. TCU’s six first-quarter points marked its lowest output in the opening frame this season and the Jayhawks’ best defensive effort in the first 10 minutes, as well.
TCU’s first field goal of the second quarter did not come until the 5:35 mark, a three from Medley. The Horned Frogs slowly chipped away at Kansas’ lead for the remainder of the quarter, but the Jayhawks held strong. At the intermission, Kansas held onto a one-point advantage, 19-18.
The two teams wrestled the lead back and forth early on in the third period, with six-straight baskets resulting in a lead change. A steal and fast-break layup from freshman guard Aisia Robertson broke the streak and pushed Kansas’ advantage to three points. A 7-2 scoring run on three-consecutive field goals later in the quarter grew the Jayhawks’ lead to seven points and forced TCU head coach Raegan Pebley to call a timeout with 1:38 left in the period. The Horned Frogs locked in after, scoring the final six points of the quarter to bring the game back within one point.
Neither team put points on the scoreboard for the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, before another three-ball from Medley turned the game back in TCU’s favor. The Horned Frogs put in six-unanswered points before free throws from Johnson at the 5:20 mark ended the cold spell. Just over a minute later, Johnson connected on her third field goal of the night to pull the Jayhawks to within a point.
With less than 50 seconds left in the contest, Medley sank two free throws to put TCU up by seven. Kansas continued to fight, and battled back to within one point again with five-straight points from Aldridge. The Jayhawks took three trips to the free throw line with the chance to tie the game, but missed the mark on each of them. Redshirt junior guard Timeka O’Neal launched a three-pointer just before the buzzer with the chance to force overtime, but the shot fell short, giving TCU the 55-52 win.
TCU 55, Kansas 52
Feb. 29, 2016 – Fort Worth, Texas
Attendance: 2,194 (Capacity: 8,500)
- Kansas trails TCU 6-4 in the overall series that began in 2009.
- KU drops to 1-3 when playing the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth and 0-1 inside TCU’s brand new facility the Schollmaier Arena.
- Tonight’s game is just the fifth time Kansas women’s basketball has played a game on the 29th day of February in program history. KU drops to 2-3 on Feb. 29.
- Kansas has a record of 364-411 away from Allen Fieldhouse.
- Kansas held TCU to 32 percent shooting from the field, which is the lowest field goal percentage by a Big 12 opponent this season.
- Additionally, the Jayhawks held the Horned Frogs to 55 points, marking the second lowest point total by a Big 12 opponent in 2016.
- KU outrebounded TCU 43-39 with freshman Tyler Johnson collecting a team-high seven boards. Kansas has outrebounded its opponent nine times this season and on four occasions during Big 12 play.
- Kansas netted 24 points in the paint at TCU on Monday night, marking the sixth-straight game with 20 or more points in the paint this season. KU has recorded a total of 15 games with 20 or more points in the paint.
- Sophomore guard Lauren Aldridge finished Monday night with 10 points for her team-leading 19th double-figure scoring performance of the year and 33rd of her career.
- Freshman guard Kylee Kopatich posted her 14th double-digit scoring effort after dropping 10 points at TCU on Monday night.
- Freshman guard Aisia Robertson dished out a team-high four assists on Monday night, the third time this year in Big 12 play that Robertson has led the squad in assists.
- Freshman forward Tyler Johnson pulled down a team-best seven boards at TCU, the fourth time during Big 12 action that Johnson has led the team in rebounds.
Kansas head coach Brandon Schneider
On how the team fought to the very end:
“I thought we fought really hard, but we still didn’t make any shots. We had a lot of good looks close to the basket where we couldn’t convert; anywhere from six inches to four feet, we couldn’t convert. We missed three free throws to tie the game. But thinking about Jada Brown’s offensive rebound and Chayla Cheadle’s offensive rebound off of the free throw. You don’t make those plays if you quit. They embarrassed us at our place and I was disappointed in how we represented ourselves, but tonight was the exact opposite. We fought tooth and nail and, I thought, guarded the heck out of them. We just couldn’t make enough shots or enough free throws to get over the hump.”
On being in the position to win the game in the closing moments:
“We haven’t been in those situations a lot, and for us to have the two possessions where we called timeout and advanced the ball, I thought were great. We scored buckets out of those timeouts. The three in the corner to trim the lead and then we got a big steal to put yourself in the position to win at the free throw line. If you think there’s pressure to step up and make a free throw, I’m not making excuses for those guys, but they wanted to win this one so bad. I feel bad for them.”
Following the regular-season finale at TCU, the Jayhawks head to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for the 2016 Big 12 Championship March 4-7. Every game of the conference championship will air on FSN and the Jayhawk Radio Network.
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