In one of the most electric atmospheres the Razorback women’s basketball team has played in all season, the TCU Horned Frogs pulled out a slim victory over Arkansas, 82-78, to knock the Hogs out of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
Bud Walton Arena played host to its third straight WNIT game Thursday night after Arkansas defeated both Houston and UAB at home in the first and second rounds, respectively. The Razorback faithful showed out even more against TCU, recording the highest attendance since the first game of the season and setting the mark for highest attendance in a WNIT game this year with about 5200 in attendance.
The energetic crowd enjoyed a high-quality matchup as Thursday’s affair was a fast-paced and high-scoring showdown.
“I really believe that this was an NCAA Tournament game in an NCAA environment,” TCU coach Raegan Pebley said.
While the game stayed tight throughout, the Razorbacks held the lead for over 30 of the 40 minutes of play, and only surrendered the lead twice. Unfortunately for them, once the Horned Frogs took the lead in the fourth quarter, going on a 10-0 run with just over a minute to go, they did not relinquish it thanks to some stellar free throw shooting down the stretch.
“We started off this season not being a very good free throw shooting team at all,” Pebley said. “We’ve had a lot of players be very coachable and make adjustments to their free throws.”
Some excellent 3-point shooting kept Arkansas within striking distance of TCU toward the end of the fourth quarter, but consistent free throw shooting by the visitors prevented Arkansas from regaining the lead.
“It was like watching ourselves,” Arkansas coach Mike Neighbors said. “They never gave us a one-possession game. I thought they went up (to the free throw line) with a lot of confidence.”
TCU went 25-27 from the charity stripe, including 9-10 in the fourth quarter.
Down the stretch, the fans’ support also kept Arkansas in the game, Neighbors said.
“We would’ve gotten beat by 25 points tonight if (the fans) hadn’t have been here,” Neighbors said. “The crowd has been the difference for us in all of these NIT games, and I hope that everybody will realize that and we’ll see that next year when we open (the season), not just at the end of the year.”
The Horned Frogs received a dominant performance from senior forward Amy Okonkwo who scored 36 points and added 14 rebounds, which were both game-highs.
Arkansas guard Chelsea Dungee added 22 points of her own and senior guard Malica Monk scored 18 points in her last game in a Razorback uniform.