Dec. 18, 2003
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ABOUT THE CONTEST
Saturday's contest between TCU and Florida State at the Malibu Beach Classic will mark the first meeting between the two schools. Pepperdine University is hosting the tournament at Firestone Fieldhouse, which seats 3,104. The Seminoles are 5-2 heading into the tourney, with wins over Savannah State, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Harvard, UCF and USF. Their two losses came to top-rated UConn and Florida. In FSU's last match-up with USF in Tallahassee, Tasheika Allen scored 14 points and Lauren Bradley came off the bench to net the same number in a 65-58 victory. Genesis Choice made her first start of the year and tallied 10 points. Trinetta Moore snatched 10 rebounds and added five points as well. Florida State will be without the services of Laquinta Neely, who suffered a torn ACL in the Seminoles' 74-60 loss to Florida. Neely, a two-year starter, was averaging 6.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. Allen leads the team in scoring with 19.4 points and Choice is second on the squad with 11.6 each contest. Choice is FSU's top rebounder with 6.9 grabs.
TCU'S LAST TIME OUT
The 19th-ranked TCU Lady Frogs suffered their first loss of the season Sunday afternoon in Piscataway, N.J., falling to No. 25 Rutgers by a 73-65 count at Louis Brown Athletic Center. The defeat snapped the Purple and White's six-game winning streak and gave the Scarlet Knights their first victory in five contests. TCU and Rutgers came out slow, and the Lady Frogs did not put any points up on the board until the 15:29 mark of the first half when Adrianne Ross converted a three-point play to set the score at 4-3 in favor of the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers continued to hold on to a precarious lead and eventually moved the advantage to seven, 21-14, with 6:50 to go after a three-point bucket by Courtney Locke. Three minutes later, TCU was back within two, 22-20, when Amy Pack took a pass from Ross on a fast break and laid the ball up and in. Rutgers fought back and managed to take a 29-24 advantage heading into the intermission. Rutgers went on a 7-0 run to open the second half and looked to put the Lady Frogs away in a hurry. TCU, however, refused to give in easily, and after a little over two minutes had gone by the Purple and White was only down five, 36-31, thanks to a score by Sandora Irvin. It was the first of many for the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native who finished the game with 20 points to lead the squad. The Lady Frogs crawled to within a point, 40-39, with 13:20 showing on the clock after a trey from Pack and had a chance to snag the lead with Irvin at the line, but she could not convert. With 31 seconds remaining and Rutgers up 69-65, the Lady Frogs had to foul and hope the opposition would miss its free throws, but the Scarlet Knights went 4-for-4 to put the game in the books. Irvin's 20 points and 12 rebounds was her second-straight double-double effort and her second outing in a row with at least 20 in the scoring column. Pack finished the game with 18 points, connecting on 4-of-4 from downtown, while Kim Ortega added a season-high 11 points. Miscues plagued the Lady Frogs, who racked up 25 on the afternoon, 10 less than the Scarlet Knights. The Lady Frogs did show some impressive range from behind the arc by hitting eight of their 16 attempts.
IT'S ALL ABOUT BALL CONTROL
Turnovers have been a problem for the Lady Frogs this season, as they are averaging 24 miscues per game. What's helping them is the fact that opponents are committing 20 a game to help offset the disparity. It's actually pretty amazing that TCU is 6-1 this season when one considers the fact that the fewest TOs it has had in one game is 21 at BYU Nov. 29. Even more interesting is that TCU had a season-high 29 turnovers versus Arkansas, while forcing the Lady Razorbacks into a season-low 15 turnovers and still managed to win the game. Rutgers also had only 15 in the Lady Frogs' last contest, but TCU could not snag that win.
COMING UP BIG OFF THE BENCH
Despite not making one appearance in a starting role yet this season, senior Amy Pack has made the most of the 16.4 minutes she averages per game. She is second on the team in scoring at 9.6 points per game. In back-to-back games with SMU and BYU, Pack tallied 19 and 18 points. After three quiet games in a row, she came up big again for TCU at Rutgers by scoring 18 and hitting all four of her three-point shots.
SOARING TO NEW HEIGHTS
The Dec. 8 release of the AP rankings saw the Lady Frogs ranked higher than they've ever been at 19th. On Dec. 2, the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll placed TCU at No. 18, the best in school history. 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.
WHAT A TURNAROUND
If one were to look at the Lady Frogs' all-time record (299-445) he/she would not be very impressed. But, looking at TCU's record beginning with the 1998-99 season is a completely different story. The Purple and White has won over 65 percent of its games during that time frame thanks to a 107-56 record. It also means that over one-third of the Lady Frogs' wins have come in just over five seasons of play. Head Coach Jeff Mittie has accounted for 91 of those victories and over 30 percent of the program's victories in his short tenure at the school.
There have been a total of four double-doubles this year by the Lady Frogs. They are listed below, along with the number it was for their career.
Player Opponent Combination Career No.
Sandora Irvin Texas State (Nov. 21) 13 pts, 10 rbs 23
UW-Green Bay (Dec. 11) 24 pts, 18 rbs 24
Rutgers (Dec. 14) 20 pts, 12 rbs 25
Ebony Shaw Arkansas (Dec. 6) 20 pts, 11 rbs 2
NCAA STATISTICAL RANKINGS
It's nothing new to the Lady Frogs to be ranked among the nation's best in several statistical categories. TCU is currently 16th in the country in field goal defense. The Lady Frogs rebound margin ranks No. 15, while their blocked shots per game is 20th. The Purple and White is also 33rd nationally in scoring margin. Individually, junior Sandora Irvin is eighth in rebounding and 10th in blocked shots. Note: Rankings are as of Dec. 15
IT'S NOTHING MAJOR
Senior Tiffany Evans underwent a small knee operation Dec. 8. The 6-foot-2 forward had started every game for TCU so far this season. She is expected to miss only four games and is projected to return to the lineup Dec. 29 when the Lady Frogs host Lamar at 7 p.m. in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
GUESS THE REST PAID OFF
After sitting out TCU's heated overtime battle with Arkansas Dec. 6 due to illness, junior Sandora Irvin returned with a flourish at UW-Green Bay Dec. 11. She was unstoppable in the paint against the undersized Phoenix defenders and scored 24 points, 16 of which came in the second half. She shot 11-for-16 from the floor and also grabbed 18 rebounds, one shy of tying her career high. Irvin also rejected seven shot attempts.
FREE THROW WOES
TCU shot over 70 percent from the free throw line last season, but it has been a struggle for the Lady Frogs so far this season. The Purple and White has sank 105-of-168 for a 62.5 percent clip. Senior Tracy Wynn has been the most deadly shooter, making 20-for-23 for an 87 percent mark. Even one of TCU's most accurate free throw shooters in school history, senior Ebony Shaw, has had problems at the line making only six of her 16 attempts. Thankfully, the opposition has performed worse, making only 113-of-181 for 62.4 percent free throw accuracy.
IT'S SO HARD TO PICK JUST ONE
There's been a pattern in TCU's starting lineup this season when it come to who will play the point guard position. The Lady Frogs have been rotating the rookie duo of Natasha Lacy and Adrianne Ross at the spot and there still seems to be no clear favorite as to who will get the job on a full-time basis. Both players are worthy of serving as the squad's floor general, which is why they have each been trading off games as the starter. It's also not unusual to find both players on the court at the same time. Instead of having to choose one in the Lady Frogs' outing with UW-Green Bay Dec. 11, Head Coach Jeff Mittie let Lacy and Ross both start the ballgame.
With a win over UW-Green Bay Dec. 11, the Lady Frogs moved to 6-0, giving Head Coach Jeff Mittie his best start with the program. It also marked the best start in school history, bettering the 1992-93 team's 5-0 beginning. The 6-0 record was Mittie's best start as a NCAA Division I coach as well. His best start came in 1994 during his final season with NCAA Division II's Missouri Western when he won his first nine games. Mittie also had a 6-0 start the year before with MWU.
IT WAS 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. She tied that mark in three of the Lady Frogs' first four games, going for nine against Texas State, BYU and Texas-Arlington. In TCU's victory over Arkansas Dec. 6, Wynn finally established a new mark by scoring 12 points, six of which came in the overtime session.
A CAREER GAME
Senior Ebony Shaw came up big for TCU in its overtime victory against Arkansas Dec. 6 by scoring 20 points and hitting five three-pointers. It was only the second time in Shaw's career that she tallied at least 20 points in a single game and the five threes set a new mark. She also grabbed a career-best 11 rebounds for the second double-double of her career. Despite being a 5-foot-10 guard, Shaw is second on the team in total rebounds with 34.
OH, THE DISPARITY OF IT ALL
The Lady Frogs have some impressive numbers so far through six games. They are out-scoring opponents by an average of 13.6 points per game and holding them to just 58.7 points each outing. The shooting has been solid for TCU with a 44.2 percent clip compared to a dismal 33.0 percent mark for the opposition. On three-point attempts, opponents are shooting only 28.3 percent. Rebounding has also been a dominant aspect of the game for the Lady Frogs, as they are averaging 9.8 more per game than their foes. The Purple and White hasn't been bashful in distributing the ball either with 14.1 assists each outing compared to only 9.4 for opponents.
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 three 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. The final victim was UW-Green Bay, who fell 62-51. In fact, with three road victories TCU has already surpassed 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 55-15 (.786) 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 COACHING MILESTONES
TCU Head Coach Jeff Mittie is closing in on some milestones for his career this season. With a 91-44 record at the helm of the Lady Frogs, Mittie stands only nine 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 eight victories thanks to a 242-103 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 685 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 94 rebounds to break the record. Senior Tiffany Evans is also up there on the list with 604, good enough for fifth place. She needs 34 to overtake Stacy Francis for the No. 4 position.
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.
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.
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. Eight 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.
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.
FOUR 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 five more teams that participated in the NCAA Tournament last season (Tennessee, Cincinnati, Tulane, Charlotte and DePaul). Four of the Lady Frogs' first six victories this year were against tourney teams in Texas State, BYU, Arkansas and UW-Green Bay. 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 one more team this season that finished the 2002-03 season ranked in the top-25. Tennessee received a final billing of No. 2 and currently holds the same ranking now. UW-Green Bay finished 24th, while Arkansas ended the season at No. 25. TCU handed both teams losses this season.
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 231 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 blocks list with 139. She turned away 46 shots last season for an average of 1.4 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. The Lady Frogs are now ranked No. 22 in the AP polls and 19th in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.
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 55-15 (.786) 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 depend