WBB: Lacey carries on legacy left by Frese

ISU guard Stacy Frese drives toward the lane in an exhibition game Nov. 4, 1998 ,versus Gija Marijampole — a team from Lithuania. File Photo: Iowa State Daily

Jordan Wickstrom —

Former ISU women’s basketball player Stacy Frese embraced her role as team leader and was awarded by being named an All-American and Naismith finalist 10 years ago.

While it has been a decade since Frese last played in a Cyclones uniform, senior guard Alison Lacey still looks up to her as a role model.   

“Even though I didn’t get to watch her play, [Frese] is someone to look up to,” Lacey said. “In three years she has so many records and accomplishments here and is just so high up in the stat sheet. After I picked my number, I was happy we had the same number.”

Outside of sharing the same jersey number and position, Frese believes her and Lacey to be completely different players in terms of the way each plays the game.

“We’re both different players,” Frese said. “Lacey is an incredible player and an incredible scorer. But I think all the point guards at Iowa State had one thing in common: We all knew our roles. What Lacey does the best is she knows that if she needs to score, she can score. But if she knows someone else is hot, she’s going to get them the ball as well.”

Despite the differences in style of play, both women share similarities in their importance to their respective teams.

The way Lacey entered her senior season was reminiscent of Frese. Both came into their last year facing high expectations after leading Iowa State to an Elite Eight appearance.

Like Frese before her, Lacey embraced the pressure from the previous season and put together one of her finest seasons at Iowa State.

“Lacey is having arguably one of the best individual years any ISU player has ever had,” said coach Bill Fennelly, who has coached both Frese and Lacey. “What she’s going to leave is a legacy of someone who came here and developed her game, changed positions two or three times and has turned out to the be consummate leader.”

With career highs in points (17.1 per game), assists (6.5 per game) and rebounds (5.3 per game), Lacey’s senior season has been one to remember.

Despite most experts believing the team’s youth will force Iowa State to finish no better than seventh in the Big 12, the team found a way to be close to clinching at least a top-three finish in the conference.

“She’s done so much for this program; this year especially,” Frese said. “With so many young people on the team, she’s the leader of the team. Nobody expected them to be as good as they are and she’s obviously a big factor for that.”

Lacey just recently eclipsed 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists in her career. This season, she passed Frese’s 1,494 points and 494 assists for sixth on the all-time scoring list and third in career assists.

Despite putting up such career numbers, both Frese and Lacey remained very humble about their respective legacies at Iowa State.

“I put my heart and soul into everything I did and worked as hard as I could,” Frese said. “I may not have been the most gifted athlete or the best player out there but I gave everything I had on a daily basis and tried to make everyone around me better.”

Lacey also looked past her statistics and shared Frese’s sentiments about the kind of player she would like to be known as.

“I would like to be known as someone who appreciated and loved Iowa State and played the right way,” Lacey said. “Hopefully I’m in that conversation of doing things the right way. Representing my school in the best way and always being my best and always being polite. Hopefully I’ll be remembered for doing good things on and off the court and just being a good person.”

With only four jerseys retired by the ISU women‘s basketball team, it is clear there is a high amount of difficulty to get your number to hang from the rafters of Hilton Coliseum.

Only time will tell whose jersey will be the next to be retired. However, there is a good chance Lacey’s jersey will be honored in the near future.

But that’s not her concern.

“It wouldn’t hurt to see it get retired but there’s not many that do,” Lacey said. “No, it’d just be nice to come back and have a reunion. I don’t think about my jersey being retired. After a few years, I just can’t wait to come back and have a reunion with all the players I’ve played with.”