Desiree Ramos was certain there would be a tough road ahead when she committed to the Weber State women's basketball team.
Now that Ramos and the Wildcats are in the thick of an arduous season, the freshman point guard isn't shying away from the challenge she knew awaited.
Weber State hasn't had a winning season since 2007, but the last two years have been particularly trying for the Wildcats. Coming on the heels of a two-win campaign a year ago, the Wildcats are winless in 11 games this season.
Still, Ramos has faith in second-year coach Bethann Ord, who recruited the Hunter High product on the promise of resurrecting the program.
"I knew she'd be bringing in a good team to turn the team around," Ramos said. "We're just young, but we're going to get there. I know it."
Ramos insists the Wildcats are loaded with talented underclassmen, and the numbers support her claim. Three of the team's top four scorers are freshmen, including Ramos, who has averaged more than 27 minutes at point guard and has been trusted with the keys to the Wildcats' offense.
After an all-state prep career, the transition to the college game has been difficult for Ramos, but she's shown the talent that led Ord to describe her as the "best prep point guard in the state." Ramos is averaging just less than eight points a game and leads the team in assists, all while attempting to become the type of leader successful teams have at point guard.
"Of course I want more and better, but she's stepped in and done a really good job," Ord said. "She can knock down shots, and when she lets the offense happen, she gets some wide open stuff. But I want more assists and less turnovers."
While she is still getting acclimated to the up-tempo pace of the college game, which shows in stretches of erratic play, Ramos has gotten more comfortable as the season has progressed. She's beginning to understand where each player fits into the offense, allowing her to distribute the ball more effectively.
"I try to make everything flow as best as I can as a point guard," Ramos said. "I try to get everyone going."
Ramos is not the only young Wildcat to make strides this season. Though it hasn't paid off with a win yet, the Wildcats have begun to develop into a cohesive unit. The result has been competitive stretches, such as against Portland State when the Wildcats led at the half in their last game. The next step is to sustain those stretches into complete games.
"We just have to change little things," Ramos said. "We all know what we're capable of and how much talent we have on this team. We all believe."
Despite the Wildcats' record, Ord isn't shy about touting the potential she sees in her young team or her young point guard. But she's also realistic about the challenges the Wildcats face and the frustration of waiting for results.
"We try to look forward and never back," Ord said. "But with all these freshmen, it's hard. Every day, it's something with one of them. It's like this one is homesick or that one might be down about school, or whatever. ... I'm excited for the future, but I want it now. I don't want to wait. And this team is very capable."