Big 12 Women’s Tournament: Oklahoma vs. TCU Preview, Prediction
Here is everything you need to know about Oklahoma and TCU in our Sooners vs. Horned Frogs Big 12 Tournament women’s basketball preview.
No. 2 Oklahoma (24-5, 14-4) vs. No. 10 TCU (8-22), 5 p.m. CT, Friday, ESPN+/Big 12 Now
Season series (Oklahoma 2-0): Oklahoma def. TCU, 93-66, in Fort Worth, Texas, on Jan. 18; Oklahoma def. TCU, 101-78, in Norman, Okla., on Jan. 31.
Big 12 Tournament results: Oklahoma: First game. TCU: def. Kansas, 57-52.
Winner: faces the winner of Game 6 in the semifinals at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Projected starting lineups
Oklahoma: G Taylor Robertson, G Ana Llanusa, G Nevaeh Tot, F Madi Williams, F Liz Scott.
TCU: G Tomi Taiwo, G Tara Manumaleuga, G Emily Fisher, G Paige Bradley, F Bella Cravens.
Player to watch
F Madi Williams: She was an All-Big 12 First Team selection by both the league’s coaches and by Heartland College Sports. In HCS’s view, she was Ashley Joens primary competition for the league player of the year award. Williams was OU’s most consistent player all season, regardless of position. She averaged 15.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.5 steals per game for a Sooners team that ended up claiming a share of the Big 12 title for the first time in more than a decade. She, along with Taylor Robertson and Ana Llanusa, were the super-seniors that kept the team humming all season.
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. In the Horned Frogs’ upset of Kansas she led the way with 13 points.
The Sooners entered the season with a stacked roster and high expectations after reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament under first-year coach Jennie Baranczyk. For the most part, the Sooners have lived up to those expectations. Despite being swept by Texas, the Sooners were able to win a share of the Big 12 regular-season title and earn the No. 2 seed in the Big 12 Tournament. Oklahoma also swept its Bedlam rival, Oklahoma State. Along with the Sooners’ terrific starting five, there is Skylar Vann, the two-time Big 12 Sixth Player of the Year and the player that will likely be the team’s star next season.
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.
TCU extended Pebley’s time with the team one more game with the five-point win over Kansas on Thursday night. Along with Taiwo, Lucy Ibeh had 10 points off the bench and Bella Cravens grabbed 14 rebounds.
Oklahoma 93, TCU 61. OU has won both matchups in blowout fashion. I suspect the third meeting will be the same.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.