Nine games into the season, TCU’s freshmen are coming of age quickly.
Though Amber Ramirez, the nation’s No. 12 recruit in the class of 2016 coming into this season, missed the Horned Frogs’ last game, a 74-70 win over McNeese State on Dec. 11, wearing a boot on her left foot, both she and another freshman guard have found their way into TCU’s starting lineup early in their careers.
Kianna Ray has been a regular starter since the season opening win against Texas A&M Commerce, while Ramirez worked her way into the starting five before the Nov. 30 matchup with Butler.
It is unclear if Ramirez will be able to play Sunday when the Horned Frogs (6-3) host Texas Southern (5-3), but TCU coach Raegan Pebley said after the McNeese State win that Ramirez’s injury was short-term and holding her out last week was largely precautionary.
Nevertheless, with just two seniors on the roster, a quick acclamation to the college game by its freshmen was a necessity for this young TCU team. Ramirez is averaging 9.6 points per game and shooting better than 51 percent from the 3-point line, while Ray comes in just behind her at 8.3 points per game through the first nine games of their freshman season.
Fellow freshman guard Mikayla Christian has logged nearly 13 minutes a game off the bench for the Frogs, while forward Ella Hellessey has seen extended playing time in a couple of TCU’s early games as well.
“It’s about building confidence,” Ray said after TCU’s win over McNeese. “You build confidence and the coaches are gaining trust in me. I feel comfortable out there.”
The Frogs have just two more confidence-builders on the non-conference schedule before Big 12 Play starts Dec. 29 against West Virginia. Sunday’s tip against Texas Southern is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Matthew Martinez; 817-390-7760; @MCTinez817
TCU vs. Texas Southern
Sunday, 1 p.m.