Dec. 5, 2003
FORT WORTH, Texas
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ABOUT THE CONTEST
The No. 21/18 Lady Frogs will be looking to tie the school record for the most consecutive wins to begin a season when they host the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks Saturday night, Dec. 6, at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum at 7 p.m. TCU is hoping to nab only its third victory over the Lady'Backs, as they trail in the series 20-2. Last season, the Purple and White was downed by a 76-66 count in Fayetteville. Mittie's crew picked up a 60-58 victory over Arkansas during the 2001-02 campaign. The Lady Razorbacks began the series with 10 straight victories before the Lady Frogs ended the streak Feb. 9, 1988 with a 73-69 triumph at Daniel-Meyer. In Arkansas' last contest at Western Kentucky, the Lady'Backs snuck away with a 67-65 victory under their belts. Shameka Christon paced the scoring for UA with 21 points and added 10 boards. Ruby Vaughn also posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Christon is the Lady Razorbacks' leading scorer on the season with a 21.4 points per game average. Arkansas' lone loss this season came to Loyola Marymount by a 64-58 count at the Furama Thanksgiving Classic.
TCU'S LAST TIME OUT
The No. 21/18 TCU Lady Frogs remained unbeaten Tuesday night with a 73-43 victory over Texas-Arlington at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. TCU is now 4-0, their second-best start to a season in school history. The last time the Purple and White won its first four games was 1992. The '92 campaign saw TCU begin a school-best 5-0. UTA fell to 2-3 with the loss. TCU raced out to an 18-7 lead in the first half thanks to a driving layup by freshman Natasha Lacy with just over 12 minutes to go. In the second half of play, the Purple and White began to slowly increase the advantage. The lead eclipsed the 30-point mark with 3:28 to go when freshman Ashley Davis scored with the assist going to classmate Adrianne Ross. The largest lead was 32 after Davis stole the ball away and went coast-to-coast to make the score 73-41 with 1:12 left on the clock. Davis led all scorers with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Two of her makes were from downtown. Junior Stephanie Faulkner had the first double digit scoring effort of her career with 11 points, and she pulled down seven rebounds. She turned away two shots as well.
SOARING TO NEW HEIGHTS
The release of the most recent Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches Polls saw the TCU Lady Frogs ranked higher than they've ever been in either poll. The AP gave the Purple and White a national billing of 21st, while the coaches poll bumped the Lady Frogs up four spots to No. 18. TCU started off the preseason USA Today/ESPN Poll at 19th in 2002-03, their previous high. The Lady Frogs achieved the first top-25 ranking in school history Feb. 4, 2002, when they were tabbed 24th in the coaches poll. Three weeks later, they joined the AP Poll for the first time, coming in at No. 25.
TCU and Arkansas have another connection besides both being members of the former Southwest Conference. Arkansas Lady Razorback Director of Basketball Operations Kelley Waters graduated from TCU in 1993 with a degree in radio and television production. Local DFW media members may recognize Waters, as she worked for five years as a sports producer and technical operator for live events with CBS affiliate KTVT Channel 11. Prior to joining the Arkansas staff, she served as the communications coordinator for the Northern Texas PGA.
A GOOD WAY TO START OFF
With a win over UTA Dec. 2, the Lady Frogs are off to a 4-0 start, giving Head Coach Jeff Mittie his best start with the program. A win over Arkansas Saturday night would tie the 1992-93 team for the best record to begin a season in school history. TCU had one other 4-0 start to a campaign in 1986. The 4-0 record is Mittie's best start as a NCAA Division I coach. His best start came in 1994 during his final season with Missouri Western when he won his first nine games. The year before, Mittie won his first six contests.
ONLY A MATTER OF TIME
Senior Tracy Wynn established a career-high of nine points in a single game for TCU last year against Memphis Feb. 16. This season, she has already tied that mark in three of the Lady Frogs' first four games, going for nine against Texas State, BYU and Texas-Arlington. It should only be a matter of time before she cracks the double digit mark in a game. Free throws have been kind to Wynn this season and helped her scoring efforts, as she is a perfect 12-for-12.
MAKING THE BEST USE OF HER TIME
While senior Amy Pack may not start for the Lady Frogs, she makes the most of the minutes she does get. In fact, despite averaging only 17 minutes per game, Pack is second on the team in scoring with 11 points per game. In two of the last three games, she led TCU in scoring by putting up 19 points on SMU and dropping an 18-spot against BYU. Pack doesn't waste any of the shots she gets either, as she has hit 14-of-24 for the year for a 58.3 percent clip. She has also found a way to get to the free throw line and made opponents pay by knocking down 13-of-17 attempts.
OH, THE DISPARITY OF IT ALL
The Lady Frogs have some impressive numbers so far through four games. They are out-scoring opponents by an average of 21.8 points per game and holding them to just 56.2 points each outing. The shooting has been red-hot for TCU with a 45.2 percent clip compared to a dismal 32.5 percent mark for the opposition. On three-point attempts, opponents are shooting only 29.7 percent. Rebounding has also been a dominant aspect of the game for the Lady Frogs, as they are averaging 12.3 more per game than their foes. The Purple and White hasn't been bashful in distributing the ball either with 16.3 assists each outing compared to only eight for opponents.
Double-doubles are nothing new to junior Sandora Irvin. As a freshman, she notched nine double-doubles, and last season, she had a baker's dozen of them. In TCU's season opener versus Texas State, she tallied her 23rd double-double, and Irvin narrowly missed No. 24 in the Lady Frogs' next game at SMU Nov. 24 with nine points and 17 rebounds.
DIDN'T TAKE LONG TO GET THE FIRST ONE THIS YEAR
Last season, TCU didn't pick up its first road victory until Jan. 31 when it handed Marquette a 79-54 loss. The Lady Frogs won one game away from Daniel-Meyer Coliseum before that happened when they dispatched Holy Cross Nov. 28 at the Basketball Travelers/WBCA Classic, which was hosted by Purdue. To start off the 2003-04 campaign, the Lady Frogs have done a 180 by snagging two tough road victories already. TCU took care of SMU, 74-64, for its first conquest and then traveled west to Provo, Utah, to take out BYU, 79-74. In fact, with two road victories TCU has already equaled its total from a year ago when it went 2-11.
WE LOVE OUR HOME COURT
The Lady Frogs have enjoyed playing at home since Head Coach Jeff Mittie came to Cowtown in 1999. TCU is 54-15 (.783) at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum since Mittie's arrival. In his first year, TCU went 12-6 at home, followed by a 13-3 mark and an even more impressive 13-2 the next season. The Lady Frogs were 12-3 last year.
IT'S BETTER FOR YOUR KNEES
Not only is Daniel-Meyer Coliseum's brand new floor built to reduce player injuries, it should provide some more exciting basketball for fans this season. TCU was using the original floor in DMC, which was installed in 1960. The new hardwood is a state-of-the-art Connor Uni-Force floor that has a shock absorption factor of 65 percent with a ball rebound in the upper 90 percentile. The shock absorption factor on the old floor was estimated to be around 10 percent.
CLOSING IN ON THE COACHING MILESTONES
TCU Head Coach Jeff Mittie is closing in on some milestones for his career this season. With an 89-43 record at the helm of the Lady Frogs, Mittie stands only 11 victories shy of hitting the century mark for wins at TCU. The Blue Springs, Mo., native never reached the 100-win mark at his previous schools, Missouri Western and Arkansas State. He fashioned a 76-17 record at MWU and went 75-42 with ASU. Mittie is also getting close to reaching the 250-win plateau in his career. At the moment, he needs a mere 10 victories thanks to a 240-102 career record.
ONLY ONE MORE TO GO
In the Lady Frogs' ballgame with BYU, junior Sandora Irvin hauled in seven rebounds, allowing her to move ahead of Amy Bumstead on the school's career list. Irvin now has 655 boards to her credit, giving her sole possession of second place. Janice Dziuk is the Lady Frogs' career leader with 778, leaving Irvin in need of 124 rebounds to break the record. Senior Tiffany Evans is also up there on the list with 593, good enough for fifth place.
WELL, THAT'S NEW
A new structure can be seen sitting adjacent to Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. It's the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Basketball Practice Complex, and the projected date of completion for the project is spring 2004. Construction on the 22,000-square-foot facility officially began Aug. 19, 2003, and it will house both men's and women's basketball programs. The $6 million project will feature office space for the coaching staffs, two NCAA regulation practice courts, meeting rooms, weight room, a lobby and courtyard. It figures to be yet another gem in TCU's outstanding assortment of facilities for athletics.
HIGH OCTANE OFFENSE
The Lady Frogs' offense this season may remind fans a little of what former men's basketball coach Billy Tubbs used. In years past, TCU was more of a half court team, but with two quick-footed freshmen point guards in Adrianne Ross and Natasha Lacy serving as the floor generals this season that's all changed. Both rookies like to push the ball up the court and possess some explosive moves to the basket that are sure to leave the opposition in awe. In their first game of the year versus Texas State, Ross and Lacy made the home crowd ooh and ahh over their behind the back dribbles, no-look passes and ability to slice through the defense to get to the basket. Rest assured, there will be plenty more of that to come during the 2003-04 campaign.
NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS
The Lady Frogs held their annual Night of Champions weight lifting competition in September. The event marks the culmination of an intense training program that recognizes champions based on who demonstrates the greatest amount of improvement from start to finish in a particular lift. In the bench press, senior Ebony Shaw was given the crown, the first time in her career she won a category. Junior Sandora Irvin took home the hang clean crown. The previous year, she claimed both the bench press and incline press titles. Senior Tracy Wynn wrapped up the Night of Champions with the greatest improvement in the incline press. She tied Irvin in the category the previous year.
BACK 4 MORE!
The TCU Lady Frogs and the community of Fort Worth have become accustomed to certain things since Jeff Mittie assumed the head coaching duties for the 1999-00 season. After fashioning a 16-14 record in his initial season, the Purple and White has gone on to reach the NCAA Tournament three consecutive years. Last season was perhaps the Lady Frogs' most impressive run, as they sat a mere 10-12 in mid-February and appeared to be out of the running for the tourney. All they did was go on to win 10 of their next 12 match-ups, including the C-USA Tournament. It was the third consecutive year that TCU won a regular-season and/or tournament league crown. In 2003-04, the Lady Frogs will be looking to add a fourth piece of conference hardware to their mantle and crash the NCAA party once again.
IT'S NOT ABOUT JUST GETTING THERE
Sometimes teams are complacent with just making the NCAA Tournament and then willing to bow out to a higher seeded squad in the first round. Apparently, the TCU Lady Frogs have never received that memo in their three NCAA appearances because they have advanced to the second round each time. In their first showing in 2001, the No. 11-seeded Lady Frogs faced heavily favored Penn State, a Final Four team the year before. TCU went on to dispatch of the Lady Lions, 77-75, recording the biggest first-round upset of the tourney that year. The Purple and White took the No. 8 seed into 2002's Big Dance and were pitted against Indiana, who fell, 55-45. Last season, the Lady Frogs grabbed the ninth seed and faced yet another Big Ten squad, Michigan State, in the opening round. It was not pretty, but TCU pulled out a 50-47 victory. Although the Lady Frogs fell to eventual national champion UConn in the next round, they did give the Huskies more than they expected, exiting the tournament on an 81-66 disparity.
It is easy to get caught up in the mystique and luster that some teams possess, especially when they are named the Tennessee Lady Vols and the Connecticut Huskies. Combined, UT and UConn have won 10 of 22 NCAA Tournaments, which first began for women's basketball in 1982. Last season, TCU experienced contests with both squads and proved it could contend with the best. What made the performances even more impressive was the fact that they both came on the road in the powerhouses' backyards. The Lady Frogs and Lady Vols met Feb. 11 in Rocky Top and only trailed by a single point at halftime, 41-40. With six minutes remaining in the game, the Big Orange was clinging to only a four-point advantage, 74-70. Despite the 86-72 loss, TCU made a believer out of legendary coach Pat Summitt, who commented after the game that there was no reason the Lady Frogs should not be ranked in the top-25 if they played like that every night. Taking on the Huskies in the second round of the NCAA Tournament March 25 at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn., TCU actually snuck into the locker room at the half with a 35-33 lead. It marked only the sixth time the past five seasons that UConn trailed at halftime of a home game. With the confidence TCU has gained from games such as those, there seems to be no limit to what it is capable of doing in the years to come. On Jan. 2, 2004, TCU will welcome the Lady Vols back to Fort Worth for another crack at one of basketball's elites.
WE CAN WIN THE BIG ONES, TOO
Some may not be impressed by the fact that the Lady Frogs have been able to hang with teams such as Tennessee and UConn, feeling that winning is the bottom line. If that is the case, consider last season's Dec. 28 match-up with Vanderbilt in Cow Town. TCU stood just 4-5 heading into the game, while the eighth-rated Commodores held a 7-1 mark. When the contest was over, it was a 17-point margin of victory, only Vandy came out on the short end of the 70-53 score. The Lady Frogs' defense contained one of the best post players in the nation, Chantelle Anderson, to 19 points and 10 rebounds and also held quick-footed point guard Ashley McElhiney to nine points and four assists. It was TCU's first victory over a top-10 team and sure not to be its last.
THE NEXT BEST THING TO HOME
When fans can't make a home Lady Frog basketball game they can watch over the Internet using the Official College Sports Network's (OCSN) new enhanced Gametracker. The interactive live-scoring device lets users view play-by-play accounts of the game, check player stats and stay on top of everything else that's going on with the game. It makes for a great substitute when you can't be there in person or want to see the numbers as they unfold while listening to Jeff Williams and Marcy Girton call the action on KTCU 88.7 FM.
DON'T MISS THE COACHES SHOWS
Times and dates for the Neil Dougherty and Jeff Mittie Coaches Shows have been set. Nine more shows are still on tap for the 2003-04 season, with the next show taking place Tuesday, Dec. 16, at Railhead Smokehouse (2900 Montgomery St.). Mittie and Lady Frog radio play-by-play announcer Jeff Williams will get things started at 6 p.m. Dougherty and TCU Director of Broadcasting Brian Estridge will talk a little hoops from 7-8 p.m. The Jan. 15 and Feb. 5 editions of the shows will be held at a TCU fraternity or sorority house. Fans can listen to Mittie on KTCU 88.7 FM, while Dougherty and Estridge air on KTCU and ESPN Radio 103.3 FM.
Dec. 16 Railhead Smokehouse 6-8 p.m.
Jan. 15 Fraternity/Sorority 6-8 p.m.
Jan. 21 Railhead Smokehouse 6-8 p.m.
Feb. 5 Fraternity/Sorority 6-8 p.m.
Feb. 11 Railhead Smokehouse 6-8 p.m.
Feb. 16 Railhead Smokehouse 6-8 p.m.
Feb. 23 Railhead Smokehouse 6-8 p.m.
Mar. 1 Railhead Smokehouse 6-8 p.m.
Mar. 15 Railhead Smokehouse 6-8 p.m.
TWO DOWN, SEVERAL MORE TO GO
One of the most noticeable differences in Lady Frog basketball since the beginning of the Jeff Mittie era has been the upgrade in scheduling. The 2003-04 season is no different, as TCU will take on at least eight more teams that participated in the NCAA Tournament last season (Arkansas, UW-Green Bay, Rutgers, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Tulane, Charlotte and DePaul). Two of the Lady Frogs' first four victories this year were against tourney teams in Texas State and BYU. There could be an 11th team to get a crack at the Purple and White in Pepperdine at the Malibu Beach Classic Dec. 21. Should that happen, more than 40 percent of TCU's regular-season opponents would consist of 2003 NCAA Tourney squads. Four of those teams (Tennessee, Rutgers, UW-Green Bay and Arkansas) won at least one game in the tournament as well, with UT topping the bunch by reaching the title game.
A RANKED SMELL IN THE AIR
The Lady Frogs will run into three teams this season that finished the 2002-03 season ranked in the top-25. Tennessee received a final billing of No. 2, followed by UW-Green Bay at 24th and Arkansas at No. 25. Two of TCU's opponents this season are among the national rankings. Currently, Tennessee is rated third in both polls, while Rutgers is 22nd.
MORE BLOCK PARTIES TO COME
There is no reason that the Lady Frogs should not finish this season among the nation's best when it comes to blocking shots. TCU was No. 2 in rejections last season with an average of 6.6 per outing and the year before it ended up at No. 1 with a 6.5 mark. Much of the credit goes to junior forward Sandora Irvin, who was second in the nation individually in blocks with 3.9 per game last year. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native established a new single-season TCU record with 128, smashing the old standard of 85 she set during her rookie campaign. With 222 for her career, Irvin is the only person in school history, female or male, to eclipse the 200-block plateau. This discussion would not be complete, though, without mentioning senior forward Tiffany Evans, who stands second on the Lady Frogs' career block list with 138. She turned away 46 shots last season for an average of 1.4 per game. Through two games this season, the TCU is averaging five blocks per game.
RESPECT FROM THE POLLSTERS
For the first time in school history, the TCU Lady Frogs were ranked in the preseason of both major polls for women's basketball. The USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll put them at No. 23, while the Associated Press penciled in the Purple and White at 24th. In the latest polls, TCU managed to climb up a notch in each. The Lady Frogs are now ranked No. 18 in the coaches poll and 21st in the AP rankings.
TWO HEADS ARE BETTER THAN ONE
Instead of assigning one Lady Frog the duty of team captain, Head Coach Jeff Mittie and his staff decided that two heads are better than one. Seniors Ebony Shaw and Tracy Wynn were each chosen as team captains for the 2003-04 season. Shaw is a three-year letterwinner for the Lady Frogs, while Wynn transferred to TCU after a highly successful junior college career.
THE NEXT BATCH
Another national signing day came and went for the TCU Lady Frogs Nov. 12. Five players from around the country signed National Letters of Intent with TCU, and interestingly enough, none of them hail from the state of Texas. The Lady Frogs landed two ballers from the Golden State and one each from South Carolina, Kansas and Nevada. Joining the Purple and White family next year are Ashley Goodwin (6-3, C, Columbia, S.C./Dreher H.S.), Amanda Holmes (6-2, F, Topeka, Kan./Hayden H.S.), Moneka Knight (5-7, G, Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.), Lorie Rayford-Butler (5-11, F, Inglewood, Calif./Morningside H.S.) and Marissa Rivera (6-2, F, Chula Vista, Calif./Lajolla County Day H.S.). Blue Star basketball rated the recruiting class as the 25th-best in the nation, giving TCU its fourth top-25 class in five seasons under Head Coach Jeff Mittie.
Top-notch recruiting classes have become a staple of TCU women's basketball since Head Coach Jeff Mittie and his staff took over the program in 1999. Much of the credit goes to Associate Head Coach Larry Tidwell, who was selected as an AFLAC National Assistant Coach of the Year last August. TCU's first class in 2000 was rated 22nd nationally, only to be outdone the following year when it was chosen No. 4 to become the most highly-touted group in school history. The 2002 class was tabbed No. 26 and this year's collection of newcomers received a No. 10 billing. Three of them hail from the Lone Star State, while the fourth is a native of New Mexico. The sole out-of-stater, point guard Adrianne Ross, was tabbed as the third-best player in the country at her position and the 17th overall. TCU picked up another floor general in El Paso's Natasha Lacy, who was rated ninth-best in the nation at the point and 23rd among all players. Cisco swing player JimAnne Baker, the 2002 Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 2A Player of the Year, will be joining the TCU family this fall as well. Rounding out the class is the Metroplex's own Jenna Lohse, a forward who played ball for Richland High School. Lohse was picked as the 17th-best post player in the country and earned Honorable Mention All-America accolades as a junior from Street & Smith's. Rounding out the class is local product Psyché Butler from nearby O.D. Wyatt High School. Butler was selected to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Dallas Morning News First Teams and nominated for McDonald's All-America status.
There are no new additions to the Lady Frog coaching staff this season, but Sean McShane and Lonnette Hall have swapped roles for the year. McShane, who joined TCU last September, served as the director of basketball operations in his first season, while Hall was a floor coach primarily responsible for the post players. The move was made in order to fit Head Coach Jeff Mittie's staff with where they wanted to be and also where they could best help the team. Hall has a long-term goal of becoming an athletics administrator and McShane sees himself as more of an on-the-floor coach.
I'LL BE YOUR HOST TONIGHT
Actually, it is going to be more than a one night affair when TCU hosts the 2004 C-USA Tournament at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. The event takes place over a four-day span from March 4-7. Under the current conference rules, the top 12 teams compete in the tournament with first-round byes given to the four squads with the best regular-season conference records. It should bode well for the Lady Frogs considering they are 54-15 (.783) on their home turf under the direction of Jeff Mittie. Last season, TCU entered the tourney as the No. 5 seed and under the pressure of knowing that its only chance of making the NCAA Tournament was dependent upon winning the league crown. That is exactly what the Lady Frogs did, defeating the tournament's top two seeds, Charlotte and Cincinnati, to claim the title and become the first team in C-USA history to win the tourney playing on four consecutive days.
CLOSING IN ON 1,000
Three Lady Frogs will be looking for access to the elite 1,000-point club this season, a group that only consists of five members now. Janice Dziuk is the Lady Frogs' all-time leading scorer with 1,302 points, followed closely by Jill Sutton at 1,300. 2002-03 senior Tricia Payne tallied 1,178 to place third and Sutton's twin sister Amy is right behind that figure at 1,166. Leah Garcia rounds out the list with 1,151 to her credit. Senior guard Ebony Shaw is the closest right now with 838 points. Classmate Tiffany Evans is not far behind with 801 points and junior Sandora Irvin has already amassed 776 points. Assuming everything goes according to plan, it should be particularly sweet for Head Coach Jeff Mittie to see this unit accomplish the feat since two of the three were members of his original recruiting class at TCU.
Let the Countdown Begin...
Player, Points, To Go
Ebony Shaw, 838, 162
Tiffany Evans, 801, 199
Sandora Irvin, 776, 224
NOT WASTING ANY TIME
TCU Head Coach Jeff Mittie hasn't wasted any time moving up in the school's record books. In fact, he's already the Lady Frogs' winningest coach with an 89-43 record. When the Blue Springs, Mo., native knocked off UAB Feb. 28, 2003, he surpassed Hall of Famer Fran Garmon's total of 78. Garmon remains TCU's most tenured head coach, having spent 10 seasons at the helm (1984-93). By completing his fifth season, Mittie will have spent the second-most years with the Lady Frogs. It will also mark his longest tenure at any one school.
It was a consensus among the C-USA coaches this year when it came time to pick the preseason conference favorite. TCU was voted to win the regular season title after claiming the tournament crown last season. The Lady Frogs actually finished fifth with an 8-6 record but came alive in the tourney and became the first team in league history to win the tournament playing on four consecutive days. Junior Sandora Irvin was also named to the all-conference team for the second year in a row as well. Houston's Chandi Jones was once again picked as Player of the Year. Last season, Irvin was named C-USA Defensive Player of the Year.
AND THE FEATURED PLAYER OF THE GAME IS...
All 14 of the Lady Frogs will be featured on the cover of TCU's scorecards for home games this year. The schedule is as follows:
Date, Opponent, Featured Player
Nov. 21, Texas State, Psyché Butler
Dec. 2, Texas-Arlington, Ebony Shaw
Dec. 6, Arkansas, Adrianne Ross
Dec. 29, Lamar, Ashley Davis
Dec. 31, North Texas, JimAnne Baker
Jan. 2, Tennessee, Sandora Irvin
Jan. 6, New Mexico State, Amy Pack
Jan. 18, Houston, Niki Newton
Jan. 23, Louisville, Natasha Lacy
Jan. 25, Cincinnati, Jenna Lohse
Feb. 6, Tulane, Tiffany Evans
Feb. 8, Southern Miss, Stephanie Faulkner
Feb. 20, Marquette, Tracy Wynn
Feb. 22, DePaul, Kim Ortega