The first matchup of the Big 12 Tournament was Thursday between No. 9 seed Kansas State and No. 8 seed Texas Tech. It was a title battle during the first half with the Wildcats leading the Red Raiders 27-24. Much of that had to do with both teams shooting below 30 percent from the field and not being able to generate a run. But as the second half got underway, the momentum began to shift in the favor of the Wildcats as they would dominate inside the paint and outscore the Red Raiders 44-24. Even though Texas Tech would bring the game within a basket in the fourth quarter due in part to the stellar offensive performance of Bre’Amber Scott, who scored 14 of her 27 points in the fourth, it wasn’t enough.
Propelled by Gabby Gregory, the Wildcats were able to score some crucial baskets in the closing minutes. With 3:06 remaining, Serena Sundell found Gregory for a basket inside that gave the Wildcats a 67-62 lead. A minute later, Sundell sprained her ankle off a Texas Tech miss, but then Brylee Glenn hit a huge 3-pointer to make it 70-62 with 2:06 left.
Four free throws by Gregory plus a Sarah Shematsi 3-pointer was able to cap things off and give the Wildcats a 79-69 win. This comes after losing by 20 or more points to the Red Raiders on two occasions during the regular season.
What was undoubtedly the biggest surprise came in the following matchup between No. 10 seed TCU and No. 7 seed Kansas. The Horned Frogs came in having won only one conference game during the year and they were going up against a great team that has underachieved.
Much like the previous game, it was a dead heat with the Jayhawks leading 32-28 at the half. But in the third quarter, TCU was able to outscore Kansas 19-11. Largely that had to do with them shooting 66 percent from the 3-point line compared to the Jayhawks who were a meager 25 percent.
Even though the teams were fairly even in terms of field goal percentage (TCU 33 percent and Kansas 29 percent), it was threes that propelled the Horned Frogs to a 57-52 upset. It was senior guard and Iowa transfer Tomi Taiwo that carried them through with 13 points. Lucy Ibeh finished with 10 points.