Five Thoughts on the 2022-23 TCU Women’s Basketball Season
The TCU Horned Frogs finished 8-23 in 2022-23 in Big 12 women’s basketball and here are five thoughts on the team and the future with the season concluded.
TCU went into Big 12 play 6-5 and won just one Big 12 game going into the Big 12 Tournament, where it went on a bit of a run, beating Kansas in the first round and them coming within a Skylar Vann basket with two seconds left of beating No. 2-seeded Oklahoma.
Between the start of the 2021-22 league season and the 2023 Big 12 Tournament, TCU won two Big 12 games and one Big 12 Tournament game. The Horned Frogs finished 8-23.
Head coach Raegan Pebley had hoped the pieces that she acquired in the transfer portal might help offset the loss of all-time leading scorer Lauren Heard, but it didn’t. The Horned Frogs were the only team in the conference that were outmatched on a daily basis.
With just 24 victories in three seasons, Pebley made the decision to step away from the program two weeks before the season concluded.
With the departure of the program’s all-time leading scorer, Lauren Heard, Pebley wanted a more balanced team. In some ways, she got it. Ten different players averaged at least 10 minutes per game. But, like last year, there was one scorer above everyone else and that was guard Tomi Taiwo (14.2 points).
Forward Lucy Ibeh, with a strong finish to the season, finished with 10.8 points per game. From there, four other players averaged at least five points per game — guard Emily Fisher (6.1), forward Bella Cravens (5.9), Roxane Makolo (5.8), and guard Tara Manumaleuga (5.8).
Cravens led the Horned Frogs in rebounds (6.4) while Fisher led in assists (3.9). Taiwo led in steals (1.8) and Cravens led in blocked shots (1.2).
We’re still in the era of the COVID wavier, so it’s not always clear who still has eligibility. But here is a list of TCU’s seniors — Taiwo, Manumaleuga, Fisher, Cravens, Ibeh and forward Patricia Morris.
Taiwo, Fisher and Morris were fifth-year seniors and would appear to be out of eligibility. Manumaleuga, Cravens and Ibeh appear to have some eligibility left, based on their team bios. If they have an eligibility waiver to use, they must declare so.
Pebley’s departure will inevitably create a lot of turnover.
What’s Staying and Coming In?
Here are the non-seniors on the TCU roster: guard Mariah Roberts (5-8, So.), guard Knisha Godfrey (5-9, So.), forward Bre’yon White (5-11, So.), guard Paige Bradley (5-10, So.), forward Evie Goetz (6-1, r-Fr.), forward Aaliyah Roberson (6-2, Fr.), forward Daija Turner (6-3, So.) and guard Roxane Makolo (5-10, Jr.).
Pebley’s departure creates a scenario where players that haven’t transferred previously could do so freely without a waiver.
In spite of three straight losing seasons, Pebley managed to haul in three recruits in November, two of which were ranked in ESPN’s top 100. Duncanville (Texas) guard Victoria Flores is from one of the state’s true basketball powerhouses. She was ranked No. 81 by ESPN. Austin (Texas) forward Jade Clack came in at No. 92. The third recruit is forward Charlece Ohiari out of Centennial High School In Las Vegas, Nev. It’s a class her replacement can build on.
Now, the question — can Pebley’s replacement hold on to that class?
The Horned Frogs are looking for a new head coach. If last season at Oklahoma State and West Virginia was any indication, expect a lot of player turnover before and after the replacement is hired. TCU hasn’t been to an NCAA Tournament in more than a decade, which was when current Kansas State head coach Jeff Mittie led the program.
Pebley’s replacement will have a lot to deal with. It starts with re-recruiting current players, trying to keep the players that have been signed and then trying to get better through the transfer portal. The Horned Frogs have a long way to go, and the path ahead isn’t clear.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard