The University of Cincinnati women’s basketball team saw its season come to an end Sunday afternoon in Fort Worth, Texas, losing to the Texas Christian University (TCU) Horned Frogs 69-55 in the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) quarterfinals.
This year marked the first time in program history that the Bearcats reached the WNIT Elite Eight. No prior team had won more than one postseason game in a season.
UC finished its season at 24-11, while TCU improved to 24-10 and advanced to play Arizona in the Final Four.
Trailing 38-31 at halftime, the Bearcats were unable to gain any momentum in the second half, shooting just 31 percent and being outrebounded 22-15. TCU knocked down 10-of-21 shots (48 percent) in the final 20 minutes.
“We wasn’t all on track in what we needed to do [on defense],” UC head coach Michelle Clark-Heard said. “To [TCU’s] credit, they was making great shots, getting the ball on the inside or rebounding, and we had breakdowns on defense. You can’t have that when you’re trying to win on the road.”
Despite the loss, Clark-Heard believes the strong run in the postseason will give her team confidence and higher expectations heading into next season.
“We want more, and that’s what it’s all about,” Clark-Heard said. “This year was building our culture, and we’ve got to continue to keep building that culture. At the end of the day, we’ve got to want a little bit more, but I’m really happy that this group made it to where we’re at right now.”
UC’s Antoinette Miller provided a career-high 25 points on 8-of-21 shooting, six rebounds and four assists. The junior guard finishes the season as the teams highest scorer at 13.6 points per game.
“Really proud of Antoinette Miller,” Clark-Heard said. “She was unbelievable tonight. She’s carried us basically throughout the season. We needed a little more from different people, but we’ve just got to get better.”
Struggling with foul trouble, UC senior guard Nikira Goings finished with two points, two steals and four fouls. Senior forward Chelsea Warren logged four minutes, one rebound and a steal.
Forward Maya Benham and guard Monique Thompson also ended their collegiate careers Sunday.
“It’s been incredible, and I hate that it has to end for them,” Clark-Heard said. “Nikira and everyone did everything we asked and pulled into this program so we could be better and put it at another level. I think that’s what we did.”