Junior point guard Alex Frazier of East Carolina University’s women’s basketball team, is the last woman standing on the current roster who was part of the 2015-16 roster, and her experience has made a major difference this season.
Frazier’s had to adjust to a plethora of roster changes while also trying to improve her game and learn the skill sets of her new teammates so she can lead the team as point guard, a position recognized as an extension of the coach on the floor at the highest levels. And, as the season nears its final stretch, it’s safe to say she has lived up to that expectation.
This year the point guard has been at her best, finishing the season averaging career-highs in points (7.0), rebounds (3.3), assists (3.9), steals (1.1) and field goal percentage (42.1 percent). Her 109 assists on the season ranks sixth in the American Athletic Conference.
Although Frazier’s numbers aren’t eye popping, her impact and veteran leadership doesn’t go unnoticed. According to sophomore guard Dominique Claytor, her presence on the court makes the job easier for all her teammates by putting them in the positions where they can perform their best and be successful.
“She gets you where you need to be at on the court and lets us know if we need to tighten up and secure the ball,” Claytor said. “She gets us running the floor with her passes, keeps our intensity up on defense and gives us key stops so she helps us out a lot.”
Not only is she the only player standing from the 2015-16 team, she was also the only freshman on that team while the rest were juniors and seniors, with the exception of redshirt sophomore Gabrielle Holston.
With a team full of veteran leadership, Frazier said she has learned so much from the upperclassmen, especially from the girls who played her position like then senior point guard Khadijah Ellison and sophomores redshirt senior Khadidja Toure.
Frazier says the biggest lesson they taught her was to establish a presence on the court and set the tone for other teammates, getting them engaged in every play on both ends of the court.
“They taught me lessons that they learned when they were freshmen and sophomores on not to make the same mistakes they did,” Frazier said. “They gave me tips on how to be successful with this team and I use it to my advantage.”
Assistant coaches Rich Conover, Darren Guensch, Brenda Perkins and Nicole Mealing have been on the team long enough to see Frazier’s development since her freshman year, along with the loyal Pirate fans who watch the games. But no one has played a more critical role in her growth as player than head coach Heather Macy.
Macy knows a thing or two about the point guard spot, considering she played the position in her playing days at Greensboro College. Because of that, she sets high expectations for Frazier to perform to the best of her abilities.
According to Macy, Frazier’s work ethic and toughness have played a huge part in her development as a player, and expresses how crucial she has been filling the void of leader by taking control of the team this season.
“Alex is in the middle of playing 90 college basketball games so her level of experience has been really good,” Macy said. “She’s always been a leader by example with her incredible work ethic and now she’s able to be a more vocal leader for us this season which is a very important role she’s playing.”
It’s clear to see how much more comfortable Frazier is at this point in season. She comes of recently scoring double figures in four straight games against the University of Cincinnati (Jan. 27), Wichita State University (Jan. 30), Southern Methodist University (Feb. 3) and the University of South Florida (Feb. 7), while averaging 13.5 points on an efficient 54.3 percent shooting from the field, with the team winning three of four games.
Leadership is something Frazier never shied away from, even when she was a little kid. She learned a lot from her parents who taught her the essential qualities of leadership. A part of that philosophy included asking questions about how you can perform better at your job and learning the best attributes of your teammates so you can put them in positions to be successful.
“I’ve always thought of myself as a leader. I mean it’s just been there in my blood,” Frazier said. “My parents taught me well when I was younger, so with every team I’ve been on I just found myself in that leadership role. I have always been comfortable and confident in that position.”
As this young team continues to build chemistry for future seasons, Frazier’s impact will still be felt when she returns for her senior year next season to help this team reach its goal of a winning culture with her leadership. Pirates next prepare for the AAC tournament which begins Saturday lasting through March 6.