Dancin' Lady Frogs
March 10, 2001
Tulsa, Okla. - The regular season champion TCU Lady Frogs defeated the second-seeded Hawaii Rainbow Wahine 66-58 in the championship game of the WAC Tournament to claim the school's first-ever conference tourney title. The win gives the Frogs (24-7) an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, their inaugural invitation to the Big Dance.
TCU got off to a quick start and opened up a 16-7 advantage at the 10:33 mark of the first half by going on an 11-0 run. Over that time, the Frogs kept the Wahine scoreless for 6:14. The Frogs more than doubled up the score on Hawaii with a 10-point run that made the margin 30-13 at the 2:30 mark when Tricia Payne buried a shot in the paint. The 17-point lead was the largest of the half, and TCU went into the locker room with a 34-18 advantage.
The Frogs held the Wahine to a paltry 15.2 percent (5-for-33) in the first stanza, while the Frogs made 14-of-38 attempts (36.8 percent). Payne led all scorers with 11 points prior to intermission, while Karen Clayton scored seven key points off the bench.
The Wahine cut the lead to 10 midway through the second half, but the Frogs made four straight shots, including a three-pointer by Amy Porter, to push the lead up to 19. TCU went dry over a five-minute stretch, however, and Hawaii was able to cut into the gap. Hawaii got as close as five points at 61-56, but TCU made 5-of-6 free throws in the final minute to ice the game.
The Frogs improved to 10-0 in afternoon contests this season and 11-3 in games outside of Fort Worth. With a TCU win, the team has won five of its last six games and 17 of its last 20 contests.
Payne finished the contest with a game-high 26 points. No other Frog scored in double figures. Janice Thomas (11) and Porter (10) were the top rebounders. TCU entered the game with an RPI rating of 41, while Hawaii (23-7) was rated 49th. The Frogs handed Hawaii three of their seven losses on the season.
The WAC all-tournament team consisted of Payne (MVP) and Jill Sutton of TCU, Dainora Puida and Kylie Galloway of Hawaii, and D-dra Rucker of SMU.
TCU will return to Fort Worth on a charter bus tonight, with an estimated time of arrival of 9:00 p.m. at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. On Sunday afternoon, the team will gather at the John Justin Athletic Center to watch the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, which starts at 4:00 (CT) on ESPN. The first round of the Big Dance will be played March 16-17.