TCU Dominates Lobos Friday To Advance To Championship
March 11, 2011
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Senior Helena Sverrisdottir scored a game-high 25 points as No. 2 TCU advanced to the finals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament for the first time in program history Friday night with a 61-40 decision over No. 7 New Mexico at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Sverrisdottir simply was unstoppable against the Lobos, scoring 13 of her 25 points in the second half. The senior, who moved into No. 2 all-time in TCU history in points scored Friday night, went 8-of-13 from the field. She also grabbed seven rebounds and chipped in with five assists.
The Horned Frogs, who posted the third-largest margin of victory in tournament history Friday, received solid contributions from several individuals in semifinal action. Micah Garoutte netted 10 points on five-of-seven shooting, while fellow senior Rachel Rentschler posted eight points and grabbed a game-high 10 boards. Freshman Briesha Wynn was also a key performer for the Frogs, totaling eight points and six boards.
Overall, the Frogs controlled the game from the opening tip and never looked back Friday, out-rebounding UNM, 46-33, which is the second-best output in MWC Tournament history and the most in a semifinal game in tournament history. TCU, who opened the game on a 12-3 run and forced the Lobos to start the game 1-of-15 from the field, also controlled the points in the paint, outscoring the Lobos, 20-14. When it was all said-and-done, TCU shot over 40 percent from the floor, while limiting New Mexico to 23.7 percent from the field.
With the win, the Purple and White, who led by as many as 25 Friday and held the Lobos without a player in double-figures for the first time all season, moved to 22-9 overall, while UNM dropped to 13-18. The Frogs will compete in the finals tomorrow against No. 5 Utah, who upset No. 1 seed BYU earlier in the day, 50-49.
Garoutte found a cutting Sverrisdottir early in the second half and the senior would score the next four points to move the score to 39-26 early in the second half. Garoutte went back to work a few moments later, taking a pass from Emily Carter and connecting on a jumper inside the paint.
The Frogs turned up the defensive pressure with a little over 12 minutes to go in the second half, forcing UNM into two-straight turnovers before Sverrisdottir found Garoutte in the lane to make the score 45-28 at the 11:38 mark of the second half. UNM didn't score for almost 5 minutes of play during the stretch.
Following a timeout, Carter found a cutting Sverrisdottir for the backdoor layup and the Frogs took their biggest lead of the game up until that point at 47-29 with less then 9 minutes to go in the half. A few moments later, Sverrisdottir would continue to increase TCU's cushion halfway through, scoring on a floating jumper.
TCU would put it on cruise control the rest of the way as the Frogs advanced to a conference tournament final for the first time since 2005.
Sverrisdottir gave the Frogs an early 5-3 lead, drilling a three from the top of the key. Fellow senior Garoutte then nailed two-straight buckets to push the TCU advantage to 9-3. The Frogs continued to pressure UNM, moving the score to 12-3 at the 15-minute mark, which was part of an 11-0 run for the Purple and White.
Wynn continued TCU's hot shooting from deep at the 12:17 mark of the first half, drilling a triple from the left side of the floor. The Frogs could simply not miss from deep as Rentschler got into the mix, draining a three from the top of the key to push the TCU lead 20-7 at the 9:07 mark, but UNM fired right back, going on a 5-0 run to cut into the deficit.
The two teams continued to battle back-and-forth until Wynn stole the rock and went coast-to-coast to score a three-point play, which pushed the TCU lead back to 10 in the closing minutes of the half.
A late bucket by Sverrisdottir brought the score at the break to 33-21 in favor of TCU.
The Frogs will return to the court tomorrow against No. 5 Utah. Start time is set for 1:00 p.m. PT.