Big 12 Women’s Tournament Kansas vs. TCU Preview
Here is everything you need to know about Kansas and TCU in our Jayhawks vs. Horned Frogs Big 12 Tournament women’s basketball preview.
Game 2: No. 7 Kansas (19-10, 9-9) vs. No. 10 TCU (7-22, 1-17), 7:30 p.m. CT Thursday, Big 12 Now/ESPN+ (time is dependent on completion of Game 1)
Season series (Kansas 2-0): Kansas def. TCU, 73-55, in Lawrence, Kan., on Feb. 8; Kansas def. TCU, 84-61, in Fort Worth, Texas, on March 4.
Winner gets: a Thursday game with No. 2 seed Oklahoma at 5 p.m. CT Friday.
Projected starting lineups
Kansas: G Zakiyah Franklin, G Chandler Prater, G Wyvette Mayberry, G Holly Kersgieter, C Taiyanna Jackson.
TCU: G Tomi Taiwo, G Tara Manumaleuga, G Roxane Makolo, G Paige Bradley, F Bella Cravens.
Players to watch
C Taiyanna Jackson: Jackson was the only player in the Big 12 to average a double-double for the entire regular season — 15.1 points and 12.3 rebounds. For that, she was named to the All-Big 12 First Team by both the league’s coaches and Heartland College Sports. She was also the Heartland College Sports Defensive Player of the Year. Jackson’s season was exceptional. With her 68.0 percentage from the field, she became the first player since 2009-10 to average at least 15 points, 12 rebounds, three blocked shots and shoot at least 60 percent from the field (per HerHoopStats.com).
G Tomi Taiwo: The Iowa transfer averaged just 3.1 points and less than two rebounds per game in four seasons at Iowa. With TCU, she emerged as the Horned Frogs’ leading scorer, dumping in 14.4 points per game. She also had 2.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game. For part of the season, she was the only Horned Frog averaging double figures. She shot 40 percent from the floor and a solid 36.7 percent from the 3-point line.
At one point, Kansas looked primed to shake up the Big 12. In December, the Jayhawks beat nationally-ranked Arizona on the road and ended non-conference play 10-1. Kansas carried that momentum into Big 12 play and won its first two games. But, a three-game losing streak followed against Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma. After that, it was clear a gap still remained. Kansas did manage a win over a ranked team late in the season, beating Iowa State at home and finished off a three-game winning streak to end Big 12 play with a road win at TCU.
The Horned Frogs opened the season with some hope they could distribute the scoring after last season, when the offense flowed through the program’s all-time leading scorer, Lauren Heard. To some extent that re-distribution happened, but it was clear the Horned Frogs didn’t have the talent to keep up with the rest of the league. TCU was barely above .500 going into Big 12 play and it lost its first 13 Big 12 games before beating Kansas State. Worse, that win was the program’s first in the Big 12 since Jan. 19, 2022. Entering the final week of the regular-season coach Raegan Pebley announced that she would leave the program at the end of the season.
Kansas 75, TCU 55. The Jayhawks have won both games by more than 20 points. That won’t change in this game as Pebley takes her final bow as head coach.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.