Jennifer Lacy Featured in the Ventura County Star
The former Pepperdine women's basketball star has made a good career for herself in the WNBA.
by Rhiannon Potkey
Ventura County Star
August 12, 2009
reprinted with permission of the author
The property in Atlanta was initially purchased as an investment.
But Jennifer Lacy enjoyed the city so much she decided to make it her home base.
Little did Lacy know just how much time she would soon be spending there.
In a truly Dream scenario for Lacy, the WNBA awarded a franchise to Atlanta last year and the Atlanta Dream acquired Lacy in the WNBA expansion draft.
"It was great to come home from playing overseas and not have to pack another bag to go somewhere else," said Lacy, an Agoura High graduate. "To play in Atlanta has been amazing so far. We have a great organization, a great fan base and my coaches and teammates are great."
Lacy, 26, has been on the ground floor of the Dream's building process.
The Dream finished 4-30 last season, including an 0-17 start.
Lacy was one of four players retained by the team this season, and their perseverance is being rewarded.
Thanks to key additions like Chamique Holdsclaw, Michelle Snow and rookie Angel McCoughtry, the Dream is 11-11 and in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
The team recently embarked on a four-game winning streak, which matched its total number of wins last season.
"Our first year here was rough, but our front office has worked hard this past offseason to put together an amazing team, so I think we have taken huge steps," Lacy said. "It takes teams three or four years to do the kind of growth we have done in a single season."
In her fourth season in the WNBA, Lacy signed with the Phoenix Mercury as a free agent out of Pepperdine in 2006.
The 6-foot-3 forward called her departure from Phoenix "bittersweet" because of how much she enjoyed the franchise and the city.
The team had just captured its first WNBA title when Lacy was drafted away.
"There were so many different emotions," Lacy said. "It was hard to leave Phoenix, but it was a really neat experience to have another team, another coach and another city believe in you and say they think you are good enough to help us start our franchise."
Lacy led the West Coast Conference in scoring during her senior year and led Pepperdine in rebounding. But statistics don't define her role with the Dream.
"I am a vocal leader and I think I inspire my teammates in the way I play and the way I come to practice every day," said Lacy, who is averaging 3.3 points and 2.0 rebounds. "I bring that tenacity to the team and I am a defense-first player. I go out there feisty and I think my teammates feed off that and respect that."
Lacy is the daughter of former major league baseball player Lee Lacy, and their relationship has been the answer to trivia questions used during timeouts at games.
"He is always giving me advice about sports and how there are peaks and valleys, ups and downs and ins and outs," Lacy said. "He really inspired me and it is pretty incredible to be able to follow in his footsteps of being a professional athlete."
It's something not everyone thought was possible when Lacy was the first player from the West Coast Conference to make a WNBA roster.
"I am a player from a small school and players like myself aren't expected to go play in the WNBA or go see and do what I have done," she said. "I am trying to soak it all up and take it in because I am really blessed."
Lacy has made trips to South Africa to teach sex education, spread awareness about HIV and conduct basketball clinics.
"It's about teaching personal responsibility and accountability through sports," Lacy said. "Whether it's basketball or whatever you decide to do, you have to be a positive influence on the community you are a part of. Any positive message that empowers women is a great way to give back."
Lacy's time away from her home in Atlanta comes in the WNBA offseason when she is playing overseas.
She has played in Italy, Greece, Poland, Russia and Hungary. This past year, she was in China competing for Beijing.
"The WNBA has opened up so many other doors that sometimes I pinch myself, 'Am I really getting paid to go see the world and play basketball?' " she said. "It is a dream and I am just really grateful for every opportunity I have been given."