Junior guard Chayla Cheadle didn’t even try to plead her case. She merely gave the official a puzzled look.
In the third quarter on Sunday, Cheadle was hit with a technical on a dead ball play. The sequence turned into a six-point swing in a matter of seconds for TCU, which proved to be detrimental as the Kansas women’s basketball team fell, 80-68, at Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks are now 1-11 in Big 12 play, including a series sweep by the Horned Frogs.
“They had the technical, which was strange. I’ll have to look at that, I didn’t really understand it,” Kansas coach Brandon Schneider said. “Not saying we didn’t deserve it but I didn’t see the play. I thought the big difference in the third quarter was they just lived at the free throw line.”
For the afternoon, TCU went 21-of-25 at the free-throw line, including an 11-of-13 clip during the third quarter. But it was the 4-of-4 effort in a single possession that haunts KU the most after its 16th loss of the season.
Following a layup by TCU junior AJ Alix (25 points) at the 6:41 mark in the third period, the visiting team quickly jumped into its full court pressure defense. It was there that Alix sat with her back turned to the baseline, hovering over the ball.
Cheadle, the in-bounder, noticed the ball wasn’t going to roll to her so she proceeded to walk up and grab it. She pushed Alix in attempt to reach down to grab the ball, and the official, Amy Bonner, wasted no time hitting her with the technical. Cheadle was left confused while the Horned Frogs rejoiced.
Though, Schneider didn’t see it from his viewpoint, he had an easy solution to not getting that call again.
“Make the officials go get the ball, that’s all I know,” Schneider said. “If you can’t go get the ball, I guess go make the officials get it.”
Alix knocked down both her technical free throw attempts to give TCU a 45-38 lead. On the impending inbound play, Alix received the pass on the baseline, where she was fouled on a jump shot by sophomore Kylee Kopatich.
The team’s leading scorer netted both the free throws to increase their advantage to nine at the 6:32 mark. It capped an 8-0 run, sparked by six points in nine seconds, to give the Horned Frogs their largest lead at that moment.
“That was big, I didn’t even see what happened,” TCU coach Raegan Pebley said. “The fact that we were able to convert and got to the free throw line off our baseline out of bounds play. So that was a big swing. Those kind of things are out of a coach’s hands completely.”
KU was never able to recapture the lead from that moment on, despite making a late push in the third quarter. Both junior Jessica Washington (27 points) and senior Caelynn Manning-Allen (14 points) fueled their own 8-0 stretch in the closing minutes to pull within two points at the 1:14 mark.
However, Amber Ramirez responded by knocking down a 3-pointer from the left wing. She turned and motioned to the crowd of 3,823 people at Allen Fieldhouse to be quiet. TCU (11-11, 3-8) increased its lead to eight points by the end of the quarter, before maintaining a double-digit advantage for much of the final period.
“We made a lot of mental errors, you can’t do that in a Big 12 game,” Schneider said.
The second-half struggles overshadowed an otherwise solid first-half effort by the Jayhawks. Though no other players joined Washington and Manning-Allen in double figures, Kansas was constantly creating turnovers which led to transition buckets.
Of TCU’s 20 turnovers for the game, 13 came in the first two periods. The Jayhawks scored 18 points off their opposition’s turnovers but were unable to reciprocate that showing after the intermission.
“To start the game off we were a lot more locked in than we were down the stretch,” Manning-Allen said, “which bit us in the butt in the long run, obviously.”
Kansas (7-17, 1-11) will play host to Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. Wednesday.