It's been two weeks of living in limbo for the Marshalltown Community College women's basketball team. But on Friday night, the Tigers felt closer to finished with some ongoing uncertainty.
Former Iowa State University standout guard Alison Lacey was announced as the interim volunteer head coach for the MCC women's squad, joining Jay Freese on the bench for the Tigers' game on Friday night in the Emerson JUCO Shootout at the Student Activity Center.
Lacey, who was a member of the Seattle Storm's WNBA championship team in 2010, closed out her playing career with her hometown Canberra Capitals of the WNBL in Australia this fall.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
Former Iowa State University standout guard Alison Lacey, right, and Marshalltown Community College women’s basketball coach Jay Freese talk during a timeout on Friday night at the Student Activity Center. MCC announced on Friday that Lacey is the Tigers’ new interim volunteer head coach starting on Monday.
On Monday, she takes over as the head coach of the MCC women's basketball team - her first such job in the junior college ranks.
"We'll see how it goes, it's a unique situation but I'm excited," she said after the Tigers' 77-52 loss to NJCAA Division II No. 2-ranked Johnson County CC. "I'm ready to do whatever I can to make this team successful. But it's part me - it's a lot of them."
It appears that Lacey is stepping in as the full-time replacement for former head coach Larry Roberts, who was placed on paid administrative leave on Nov. 22 pending an investigation by the National Junior College Athletic Association into potential rules violations.
MCC has made no official statement regarding Roberts' future with the program.
"We just have to keep going with our new coach coming out Monday," said sophomore guard Courtney Sullivan. "We're hopefully getting a new, fresh start. The past two weeks have been hard for us with everything that's been going on.
"We were kind of falling apart as a team but just in the last couple days I've seen a lot of improvement in the team working together. That's all we have to continue to do is work together and move on from here, forget about (the loss) and worry about the next game."
Teamwork was something Lacey pointed out immediately when talking about her initial points of emphasis when the whistle and clipboard officially become hers next week.
"I want a TEAM," she said. "I was always part of a good team. Individually we might have been that good but as a team we were good, so that's definitely something I'm going to bring in to this team and hopefully everyone will buy into it and we'll be just fine.
"I think we have a lot of talent, it's just the girls have been through a lot. There's been a lot of changes the last couple weeks so it's going to be an adjustment period, but I'm excited. We just need to get on the same page."
Lacey said she has been looking to get into coaching since she retired from professional basketball. She left the Canberra Capitals during the WNBL playoffs, telling the Canberra Times that, "I wasn't as passionate as I thought I should be to be a professional athlete. "I don't want to waste my time, my teammates or my coach's time if it's not my main priority."
Lacey was a member of four NCAA tournament teams at Iowa State, advancing to the Elite 8 and the Sweet 16. She was an all-Big 12 first team selection and an honorable mention All-American, graduating as the only player in ISU history to record 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists.
"I think it's going to be great," said Sullivan. "She's obviously got that experience, she knows what it's going to take, she's going to push us. We already know things are going to change and we'll all excited for it."