THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-Smith's solid start spells success for Cards.
(WE bring you another in a series of the 2012-13 Louisville women's basketball players. Today, we finish up the sophomore class with guard Bria Smith.)
Bria Smith joined the 2011-12 Cardinal women's basketball team as one of the most heralded recruits to wear the Red & Black. A four year starter at Christ the King High School in Massapequa, NY., Smith was the #8 ranked player in the nation by ESPN HoopGurlz and had been selected to play in the McDonald's All-American game.
Originally headed to Virginia, a coaching change made her reconsider the decision and enroll in Louisville instead. It was a lucky day for Cardinal WBB fans when she made the switch.
Smith secured a starting position at guard alongside Shoni Schimmel when Tia Gibbs went down with a season ending injury and never relinquished the spot. Fans were thrilled early on with her tough-as-nails drives to the hoops and inside scoring abilities. She also provided steady defensive skills and demonstrated she was a better-than average interior passer as well. The original plan was probably to have Smith play in tandem with Gibbs and learn from the talented off-guard. Thrown into the fire without baptism most likely helped Smith grow and prosper faster than she might have otherwise.
Second on the squad last year in assists and steals, Smith showed she has the skills and talent to compete with the best the BIG EAST had to offer night after night. As she looks ahead to her sophomore year, she knows there are several areas where she needs to improve upon her game to have an even better season this year. Coach Walz would probably like to see Bria develop an outside shot as productive and deadly as Shoni's. He'd also like to see her cut back on turnovers and lead the fastbreak transitition game more effectively....although she did sparkle at it at times last season.
With Tia Gibbs scheduled to return to action this fall, it'll be interesting to see just where, when and how Coach Walz uses the 5'10" Smith this season.
One thing we know for sure, her competitive never-say-die nature has made her a Cardinal womens' basketball fan favorite and we'll "see-ya Bria" on the court.
THE SMITH PROFILE
2011-12 GAMES PLAYED Shooting % Steals Assists Pts. Avg
33 (33 started) .396 63 69 305 9.7