TCU's women's basketball team finally defeated Texas. Click here for the game story. A universal reaction may be - it's women's basketball, who cares? On a smaller scale, it's a big deal.
Having once been the esteemed media realtions director for the TCU women's basketball team back when the program actually began to try (fall of '96), it was uncomfortable to type "vs. Texas, 0-32" in the media guide. There is a certain degree of embarrassment that comes with that sentence.
There are a loooooot of people associated with TCU who can recall some of the beatings against UT; 96-33 back in the mid '90s comes to mind. There was a myth that one time UT coach Jody Conradt did not travel her starters to Fort Worth for one game so they could study for a test. Not sure if that was true, but it fits.
The Texas women's basketball program may no longer be the monolith it was back in the '80s, but for TCU women's basketball coach Jeff Mittie Sunday was not only important to his team, but to so many who once were a part of this program. Of all the transformations that school has enjoyed since it decided to take athletics seriously, none is more amazing than women's basketball. That program was the worst for more than a decade; something the administration simply threw money at in an effort to satisfy Title IX.
"You know the historical background and the importance for so many people back in the Southwest Conference days," Mittie said Sunday evening. "We talked about it earlier in the week - we could do a few things that haven't been done. This was another opportunity do something that had not been done at TCU.
"We are obviously not where we want to be, but last year we took our lumps and we lost these games like this. Now our team is starting to believe."
Women's basketball was like most other programs at TCU in Conference USA or Mountain West Conference - it was near the top, and went to the NCAAs. The transition into the Big 12 for Mittie has been similar to the other programs - not easy.
Even in a difficult women's basketball league, Mittie's crew may be the closest to returning to the NCAAs. They are 12-6, 3-3 in the Big 12; a .500 league record may get them in. At a minimum, defeating Texas and winning games in the Big 12 will land Mittie better players.
"We are in the conversation more now (for top recruits), but we still have to land that kid," Mittie said. "People are answering our phone calls more. We are having more national discussions. We have to have success - if you do that, there are enough recruits."
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