TCU Squanders Double Figure Halftime Lead at Louisville
Jan. 21, 2005
The TCU Lady Frogs (13-6, 4-1 C-USA) had a 15-point lead at the half against the Louisville Cardinals (12-5, 3-1 C-USA) Friday night in Louisville, Ky., but were outscored 47-26 in the second half to lose 63-57. It snapped the Lady Frogs' six-game winning streak. Coming into the game, TCU was 62-0 under head coach Jeff Mittie when grabbing a double digit lead at halftime.
The Lady Frogs looked good early, going up 8-1 in the first three and a half minutes of the contest. TCU eventually pushed its lead to double figures at the 7:23 mark when Niki Newton hit a long jumper to put her team up 16-5. The Purple and White's smothering defense continued to frustrate the Cardinals, and with 1:17 left, a jumper by Lorie Butler-Rayford gave TCU its largest advantage of the game at 18 (31-13). Connie Neal canned a three-pointer with 21 seconds remaining to answer for Louisville.
Louisville went 5-for-29 (.172) in the first period, tying for the ninth lowest shooting percentage allowed in a first half of basketball in TCU history. The 15-point halftime lead tied for the third largest in school history in a loss. The highest was when the Lady Frogs were up 18 (35-17) at Tulsa Feb. 27, 1999, and went on to drop the game 60-55 in overtime.
It took the Cardinals just over three minutes to go on an 11-0 run to open the second stanza. Nine of the points were scored by Missy Taylor and Jazz Covington, which was the same number of points they combined for in the entire first half. The Lady Frogs were able to counter punch and were still ahead 42-31 with 12:06 showing on the scoreboard after two free throws went down for Butler-Rayford.
The Cardinals closed out the rest of the period with a 32-15 scoring disparity. It started with a 15-0 run over a 4:41 span after the free throws by Butler-Rayford. The Lady Frogs were held scoreless for 6:57 until Butler-Rayford hit a couple more at the charity stripe to bring her team back within two, 46-44, with 5:09 to go. TCU, though, had no answer for Covington, who finished with 18 points in the second half and eight in the final five minutes.
Sandora Irvin led TCU in scoring with 12 points and she collected 11 rebounds for her 58th career double-double and 13th of the season. Butler-Rayford had her first career double-double with 10 points and 13 boards. Natasha Lacy was the Lady Frogs' other double digit scorer with 10. Newton finished with nine and Ashley Davis had eight.
Irvin also blocked three shots in the game to move up into sole possession of second place on the NCAA's all-time career blocks list. She has 415 to her credit, two more than Heidi Gillingham from Vanderbilt (1990-94). She needs just 14 more to overtake Genia Miller's (Cal State Fullerton, 1987-91) record 428.
Covington was the game's top scorer with 22 points and she had 13 rebounds as well. Taylor dropped in 14, eight boards and five blocks. Katie Olsen and Angel Bradley tallied eight apiece.
TCU shot 26.8 percent (19-of-71) for the game and was 8-of-37 (.216) in period No. 2, which was the 10th lowest second half shooting percentage in school history. Louisville finished 20-of-60 (.333) and was 15-of-31 (.484) in the second half. TCU out-rebounded Louisville 52-43 and 24-15 on the offensive glass. The Cardinals committed 16 turnovers and forced 21. Louisville won the battle inside as well, outscoring TCU 26-18 on points in the paint.
The Lady Frogs play at Cincinnati Sunday, Jan. 23, at noon CST. Cincinnati suffered a 63-56 loss to Houston Friday and is 0-4 in Conference USA play. The Bearcats are 5-13 overall. The TCU-Cincinnati game is being televised by the C-USA Television Network and can be seen live locally in Fort Worth, Texas, on KFWD Channel 52. The satellite coordinates are SBS 6 transponder 05K (74' W).