Horned Frogs Rally Falls Short At Colorado State, 61-59

Feb. 11, 2012

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - In a key Mountain West contest, TCU rallied to pull within one in the second half Saturday, but Colorado State dodged a last second shot by sophomore Briesha Wynn and escaped with a heartbreaking 61-59 victory at Moby Arena.

With seven seconds remaining in the game and the Frogs trailing by two, sophomore Latricia Lovings rebounded a missed free throw by the Rams' Hayley Thompson and found Wynn on the outlet. The fellow sophomore proceeded to drive the length of the court and float the rock towards the hoop on a running layup, but the ball bounced off the back of the rim as time expired to give Colorado State its first win in the all-time series since 1999.

It was a tail of two halves for TCU Saturday as the Frogs, who clawed their way back within one on a 11-4 run halfway through the second frame of play, outscored CSU in the second half, 36-22. The Frogs defense got into the act after trailing by 16 at intermission as they forced the Rams into 11 turnovers and only nine made shots in the second half alone. This came after CSU had only missed nine shots on 16-of-25 shooting in the first half and shot a blistering 64 percent from the floor during the opening frame.

Overall, TCU, who outrebounded the Rams Saturday, slowed a Colorado State team in the second half by solid ball movement and smothering defense, which helped them shoot almost 43 percent from the floor during the period, while holding a 16-6 advantage in points off turnovers.  

With the loss, the Horned Frogs dropped to 12-12 overall and 5-4 in league play, while CSU improved to 11-13 overall and 7-2 in the Mountain West.

Natalie Ventress and Wynn came alive in the second frame as the duo scored 12 and 10 points, respectively, during the period. In all, Ventress tallied a game-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including 4-of-6 from three Saturday. With her 23-point outing, the freshman who has now scored 20+ points four times this season, tied her previous career-high of 23 points, which was set earlier this year against UNLV. Wynn was the only other Frog in double figures, scoring 12 points, while also grabbing a team and game-high seven boards.

Kim Mestdagh led the way for Colorado State Saturday with 21 points, which included a 16-point showing in the first half. Mestdagh came out firing as she connected on four three-pointers and went 6-of-10 from the floor in the first period. Thompson and LaDeyah Forte each tallied 14 and 12 points, respectively.

Lovings got TCU started on the right foot in the second half, swatting away a bucket and scoring on the opening possession. Wynn then sparked the Frogs early on in the half, scoring five points, which included a nice triple in the corner to make the score 44-30 at the 17:00 mark. Ventress pulled the Purple and White within 11 a few moments later, nailing a trey of her own and the Frogs appeared to be in business on an 8-2 run to start the half.

With the score at 46-36 in favor of CSU, Wynn literally took over as she found Delisa Gross down low for a three-point play and then followed a shot and connected on two-straight free throws to pull the Frogs within 46-38 at the 14:16 mark. Gross would go to work again as the Frogs on a 13-2 run, pulled within six.

Halfway through the period, Wynn continued her offensive production, driving the rock to the hole to connect on a tough three-point play and make the score 49-45 at the 10:28 mark. The Frogs would continue their scorching offensive play the next trip down the court as Ventress connected to bring the score to 49-47 with nine minutes remaining in the game.

CSU would go on an 8-2 run to regain its lead at 57-49, but Ventress quieted the crowd, drilling a jumper and a key triple after a scramble to pull TCU within three down the stretch at 57-54. The Frogs then forced a steal on some tough defensive pressure and Ventress tickled the twine from the line to make the score 57-56 with 3:22 to go in the contest. Just as she did all night though, Mestdagh answered on the other end of the court to make the scoreboard read 59-56 in slight favor of the Rams. 

Antoinette Thompson then burned her defender to bring the Frogs within one. With TCU now trailing by three, the senior calmly made it a two-point game at 61-59, nailing one-of-two at the charity stripe.

Colorado State was able to grab two key rebounds down the stretch off misses at the line, but TCU still had a chance to win the game in the closing seconds. Wynn tried to force overtime, but came up short as the Rams snapped the Frogs' 13-game winning streak in the all-time series.

Ventress got the Frogs rolling early in the contest, scoring the first five-points for the Purple and White, including a triple from the left side of the court. In all, the Fort Worth native lit up the scoreboard for 10 of TCU's first 14 points. A few moments later, the freshman drove the lane and found Ashley Colbert down low to give TCU a 7-6 lead five minutes into the opening frame. 

With the score tied at 9-9, the Frogs stole the rock and Ventress continued her hot shooting, scoring a bucket and another triple at the 13:28 mark to give TCU a 14-11 advantage early, but Mestdagh got going and helped the Lady Rams claw their way back into the game to take a 15-14 lead halfway through. Overall, Mestdagh scored 11 of Colorado State's first 15 points of the contest.

The two teams would battle back-and-fourth the next couple of trips with the score knotted at 21-21 at the 7:21 mark of the period, until CSU jumped out to a 39-23 lead on an 18-2 run to close the half.

TCU will continue life on the road next week with another pivotal showdown at UNLV on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Tip-off is set for 9:00 p.m. CT.