Photo from GoFrogs.com
Fort Worthians don’t often get excited about college basketball. But after the up-and-coming Dickies Arena was announced as a future NCAA Tournament venue and the TCU men’s basketball team won the NIT last year, suddenly, basketball is a thing in Fort Worth.
But it’s the TCU women’s team that has us talking. If you weren’t paying attention before, you should be now, and here’s why.
Their record is 16-5. They’re on a seven-game winning streak. And they’ve upset Texas (ranked No. 7 at the time) and West Virginia (then ranked No. 15). TCU’s last win was a breeze past Iowa State on Tuesday, 75-52. Now the Frogs are No. 22 — ranked for the first time in eight years.
On Saturday, the Frogs will again face the now-No. 8 Longhorns, this time in Austin.
Junior forward Amy Okonkwo, junior center Jordan Moore and sophomore guard Amber Ramirez are the Frogs’ top scorers. Moore, in particular, made a statement Tuesday scoring 25 points against Iowa State — a season-high and the most she’s scored in a Big 12 game during her career.
“We’re pretty fast-paced,” Moore told the media on Thursday. “We focus a lot on running the floor really hard and getting out in transition — just knowing where we are going to be on the floor, who’s going to cut to the basket, and who’s capable of finishing layups, things like that.”
Head coach Raegan Pebley has kept the team solid for the most part since she joined TCU in 2014. Last year, however, the Frogs struggled as one of the youngest teams in the Big 12 and finished with a subpar 12-18 record. So, in a sense, the 2017-2018 season feels like a comeback year.
“Overall since last season, we’ve worked really hard with our strength coach, just becoming a stronger team, a more explosive team,” Pebley said.
TCU has worked hard enough to garner national attention. ESPN bracketology expert Charlie Creme currently lists TCU among the “first four out,” but nonetheless, the Frogs have entered the conversation.
“What we’ve tried to emphasize to the team is to not worry about any of that right now,” Pebley said. “All of that gets taken care of when we just focus on being really good today.”
Throughout the season, the team has been promoting the phrase “ToughHER TogethHER,” in hopes to inspire young girls to work hard and accomplish their goals.
“That applies to our team as a whole and being strong women — that we can present ourselves in a way that we can set examples for other girls,” Moore said.