Women’s basketball falls to UNLV 72-57

A second-half surge by the TCU women’s basketball team wasn’t enough as the Lady Frogs fell to UNLV 72-57 Wednesday night at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.

TCU (8-10 overall, 1-2 conference) trailed 51-26 with 15:24 left in the game but went on a 20-4 run, at one point, cutting the Lady Rebels’ lead to 56-48.

But that was as close as TCU would get.

UNLV forward Jamie Smith knocked down her third three-pointer of the night as the Lady Rebels (14-5 overall, 2-1 conference) extended their lead back to double digits, putting the Lady Frogs away for good.

Smith led UNLV with 13 points, while grabbing seven rebounds.

Freshman guard Natalie Ventress led TCU with 23 points. Senior guard Antoinette Thompson chipped in 13 points.

TCU played from behind all night, stumbling out to 10-2 deficit within the game’s first three minutes. The Lady Frogs battled back, though, eventually cutting UNLV’s lead to 17-14.

That’s when the Lady Rebels went to work.

UNLV would go on a 13-2 run, making back-to-back three-pointers during that stretch and getting out to a 30-16 lead by the 7:27 mark of the first half. From there, the Lady Rebels would add to their lead, heading into halftime with a 38-21 lead after shooting 45.5 percent (15-of-33) from the field and making six three-pointers.

TCU head coach Jeff Mittie said his team came out flat, lacking hardly any energy, something UNLV had plenty of. Because the Lady Frogs opted to go with a smaller, quicker lineup they could not afford to come out flat, he said.

“I thought UNLV had all the energy,” Mittie said. “We certainly didn’t play with the type of energy necessary, particularly with the small lineup. We were going with the small lineup to maybe get more energy and if you play that way, you know, they had everything they wanted early in the game.”

The Lady Frogs shot just 30.8 percent (8-of-26) in the first half, but Mittie said, regardless of the stats, his team would not be able to do much when their effort level was as lackadaisical as it was in the first half Wednesday night.

“No matter what we dial up, we can’t afford to play with that kind of lack of urgency,” Mittie said. “And that’s kind of the roller coaster this group is on right now. We’ve got to find a higher level of consistency because we certainly haven’t found it yet.”

Mittie said doing that will take some leadership, a quality he knows certain players on his team have – they’re just not showing it yet.

“Our leadership isn’t taking a hold of that locker room,” Mittie said. “We were a young team, so we have a lot of inconsistencies, but coming off of Saturday’s game (a 79-71 win over Colorado State), I would’ve thought we would’ve understood better that that was a pretty good blueprint for us to be successful. We came out with a lot of energy in that game.”

TCU will be back in action Saturday night when they travel to Boise State. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. local time.

Correction: The final women’s basketball score was incorrectly stated and has since been corrected as of 10:19 on Friday morning.