Bremer leaves women’s basketball team

Jeremy Gustafson

Redshirt junior forward Melanie Bremer will leave Iowa State citing unhappiness during her time as a Cyclone.

“I know I’m giving up a lot,” she said. “No matter what anyone says, this is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life.”

Bremer started 11 games and played in 26 for the Cyclones. She averaged 17.7 minutes per game, scoring 6.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.

But she struggled in the classroom, enduring an academic suspension during the first semester.

Bremer said she also battled injuries.

She said she probably would not have stayed at Iowa State this long if she hadn’t had the support of Mike and Rebecca Pursell, the family she is staying with now.

The Pursells are friends of the family.

“They’ve been real helpful,” Bremer said. “I hate the dorms and they’ve made me feel like part of the family.”

Bremer said she would continue her schooling closer to her home in Norfolk, Neb.

She transferred to Iowa State from Norfolk Community College.

ISU women’s basketball head coach Bill Fennelly did not want to comment on the issue, other than in a press release.

“Melanie has decided to leave the basketball program,” Fennelly said in the press release. “She is unable to make the commitment necessary to be a part of Cyclone basketball.”

Bremer said Fennelly “was not too happy” to hear of her decision, one she made on April 16 when she and Fennelly talked at McDonalds. She then informed assistant coach Robin Pingeton that her decision to leave was final.

“I love the coaches as people, but I bumped heads with coach Fennelly a few times,” Bremer explained. “He’s not a bad person at all, but I’ve never had a coach who screamed at me.”

Teammate Holly Bordewyk didn’t think that Fennelly’s coaching style chased Bremer away, she just wasn’t willing to put in the “time commitment and physical demands.”

“She just didn’t have that passion,” Bordewyk said.

And while Bremer’s absence will be harmful in the post, Bordewyk believes the transfer could benefit both teams.

“If she’s not 100 percent committed and willing to put forth the effort, in the long run we’re better off without her,” Bordewyk explained.

Bremer is uncertain of her future.

“I don’t know if I’m playing basketball next year,” she said. “If I do it will be at an NAIA school.”

As of Thursday, Bremer had not been released from Iowa State to play anywhere else, but in order to be released she must tell Fennelly what school she wants to transfer to, then he can grant or deny the release.

Under policy, Fennelly can’t grant Bremer a general release.

She just wants it to be done with quickly.

“I hope things don’t get ugly,” she said.