Fennelly expects newcomers to see lots of playing time

Noah Schmelzer

Not long after the ISU women’s basketball team walked off the court in Minneapolis last spring after falling to the No. 3 seed Georgia Bulldogs in the NCAA Tournament, coach Bill Fennelly was faced with another loss – his star point guard and four-year starter was leaving.

There probably won’t be another Lyndsey Medders, but, if the Cyclone faithful are lucky, a few years down the road all the talk will be about how to replace a Kelsey Bolte, a Jocelyn Anderson or a Denae Stuckey.

Fennelly’s recruiting class will need to have an immediate impact in order for this season to match last season’s accomplishments.

“All three of our new players have to play,” Fennelly said. “I think, at the end of the year, if you look at our stats and Kelsey Bolte, Denae Stuckey and Jocelyn Anderson don’t have a good year, we’re going to struggle.”

Most of the expectations for the incoming class rest on the shoulders of true freshman Bolte.

The 6-foot-1-inch guard from Battle Creek-Ida Grove, was the 2007 Iowa Basketball Coaches Association Miss Basketball, an honor given out each year to the top player in all divisions of women’s high school basketball in Iowa.

“What you’re going to see from Kelsey is see her swish threes, shoot some air balls, dribble it off her foot and see her steal the ball,” Fennelly said. “I think you’re going to see a lot of different things from her initially, but what you’re not going to see is someone who panics too much.”

As things stand right now, Bolte will be a true freshman starting for the Cyclones in front of several players who have already been in the program a number of years. Fennelly is confident that when fans come out to watch, they will enjoy what they see from the young Iowan.

“[Bolte’s] the kind of player that our fans have always kind of grown close to quickly,” Fennelly said. “People who do it the right way, play hard and represent their state and their family and all that good stuff. I have high hopes for her.”

Bolte won’t be the only Cyclone newcomer that will need to make a difference this season however. Denae Stuckey, a 5-foot-8-inch sophomore transfer from Butler Community College, is expected to share time at the point guard position with returners Alison Lacey and Heather Ezell.

Averaging more than 16 points, seven rebounds and four steals a game while leading the Grizzlies to 21-10 record last year, Stuckey earned All-Conference honors while starting all 31 games.

Her ability to adapt to Big 12 play may be the difference maker that could free up Alison Lacey and Heather Ezell to adopt to their more typical roles as shooting guards for the Cyclones.

Another junior college transfer, junior Jocelyn Anderson, was brought in to help out returning starter Nicky Wieben down in the post position.

The 6-foot-4-inch junior is coming off two extremely successful years playing for Des Moines Area Community College. She was named to the Division II All-American second team both her seasons with the Bears while averaging almost a double-double in the 2006-07 season.

Transferring out from DMACC, Iowa State was the Anderson’s first choice of places to go and is where she hopes she can help win some games for the Cyclones.

“When I heard I could come to Iowa State, I was like, yep, definitely,” Anderson said. “I’m pretty excited.”