Miss Basketball must adjst on the fly

Matt Gubbels

Kelsey Bolte has a serious adjustment on her hands.

“It’s long way from Battle Creek-Ida Grove to playing the University of Oklahoma,” coach Bill Fennelly said.

Fennelly was referring to the jump that freshman Kelsey Bolte may have to make to help the ISU women’s basketball team be successful in the 2007-08 season.

Bolte, who was named Iowa’s Miss Basketball in 2007 by the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association, committed to Iowa State after her junior year of high school and now will be expected to contribute as a freshman for the Cyclones in the grueling Big 12 Conference.

Bolte said she has always been a Cyclone fan and that’s part of the reason she came to Iowa State.

“My dad went to college here,” Bolte said. “It’s always kind been my dream to play for the Cyclones.

“I did have a couple of other schools, but it didn’t really matter.”

As of women’s basketball media day, Fennelly had Bolte, a 6-foot-1-inch wing player, in the starting lineup for the Cyclones’ first game.

“It’s nice to have someone who has some confidence in you,” Bolte said. “I’ll hopefully have some confidence in myself and I’m just excited to see how everything goes.”

In high school, Bolte took Battle Creek-Ida Grove High School to two runner-up finishes in the Iowa state tournament the last two seasons.

She averaged 23.2 points per game in her senior season, which helped get her selected to play in the WBCA High School All-America Game.

Fennelly said the hardest thing for the only freshman recruit to do will be to adjust to the pace of college basketball.

“That’s the challenge for all young players,” Fennelly said. “She is talented enough to play at this level, but, for every young player, you can talk to them, but [they] have to go through it.”

Bolte said the intensity of college basketball is so much different from what she experienced in high school.

“The practices are so intense, it’s a big step,” Bolte said. “You are pretty much with your team 24-7, but I love that, it’s so much fun.

“It’s like they’re my sisters.”

Most freshmen are eased into playing in their first season at the college level.

With the loss of four-year starter Megan Ronhovde at Bolte’s position, the Cyclones do not have that comfort.

Fennelly said Bolte will have to accept the fact that she will have to play right away.

“None of us have the luxury to allow her to learn the game on the fly,” Bolte said. “The girl hasn’t played at all, so it’s going to be interesting.”

Bolte’s high school coach, Patrick Miller, said Bolte’s desire to improve will help her be successful in college.

“She never became satisfied with her ability,” Miller said. “Her understanding of the game and her court vision are the two main things that set her apart.

“She was not concerned about her stats; all she wanted to do was win.”

Fennelly said Bolte is an even-keeled, loose player and that will help her adjust.

“I don’t think she gets too worked up,” Fennelly said. “She’s ready for the challenge; I hope so, because she’s going to get that chance.”