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Walk-Ons Are Helping TCU Women’s Basketball Bounce Back

The injury bug hit TCU hard—but with four brand-new players, the team is fighting back.

Adversity is an obstacle many have faced, but despite its prevalence, overcoming it is always a  challenge. TCU’s women’s basketball team recently suffered a huge blow, losing four star players (Sedona Prince, Madison Conner, Jaden Owens, and DaiJa Turner) to injuries. Turner is out for the season, while the others’ return timelines remain uncertain. Shortly after that misfortune, Prince revealed in a TikTok that injuries had led to the loss of three additional players, and a fourth had left the team due to family matters. After four back to back losses without their leading scorers, the once undefeated team had no choice but to forfeit games

What did TCU do when faced with adversity? “You still show up, you roll your sleeves up, and you get to work. You can’t put your head down,” said head coach Mark Campbell. For a short period, the Horned Frogs were down to six healthy players. In hope of restoring his team, Campbell made the decision to hold walk-on tryouts. The turnout was decent—50 prospects showed up ready to work. After assessing the walk-ons’ skills, Campbell and assistant coach Xavier Lopez welcomed four new players to their team. 

TCU volleyball star Sarah Sylvester is one of the team's newest additions and the first TCU student-athlete in the Big 12 era to play volleyball and basketball. Though she had a successful high school basketball career, she decided to focus on volleyball in college. Luckily for Coach Campbell, Sylvester’s volleyball coaches and teammates encouraged her to try out. Like her, the other new players are no strangers to the game—each has a laudable history with basketball. 

Piper Davis, a former starting point guard, led her high school to a 5A Girls Basketball State Championship win. Ella Hamlin was named the District Offensive Player of the Year in both her junior and senior years and collected more than 1,500 points during her high school career. Mekhayia Moore earned the title of State Championship MVP in her high school’s first state win. With the help of these under-the-radar talents, Campbell managed to turn what once seemed like a disaster into a miracle.

The girls went on to win their next game against the University of Central Florida Knights, which was the first start of the season for many of them. TCU scored 27 points in the first quarter, giving them an early lead. With the help of sophomore forward Aaliyah Roberson, who finished with 17 points, the Horned Frogs closed out the game 66-60. 

This season, Campbell and his team have displayed admirable strength in the face of extreme adversity. When it's time to step up, the ladies of TCU’s women’s basketball—whether walk-ons or starters—have proven to be dependable. As the season continues and injured players return, TCU’s newfound resilience will be a great advantage in seeking to reclaim its once impressive record.


Edited by Ella Chang

Social media content created by Daryl Batt

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