Hoops Wrap-Up: Bria Smith

Cardinal Authority hopes you enjoy our "Hoops Wrap-Up" series of stories, featuring a look at each player on the men and women's teams on the University of Louisville rosters. A look back at the season and forward to the future: Our first women's feature is on junior Bria Smith.

Bria Smith

5-10, Jr., Guard

Massapequa, N.Y.

Averages: Smith averaged 7.6 points a game in 22.3 minutes per game. She started 32 games and hit 47.8 percent from the field, while leading the team with 55 steals and finishing third on the team with 88 assists.

Overview: This was a tough season on Bria Smith. She played in 35 games and earned second team All-American Athletic Conference honors but she was up and down, mainly because of a knee injury. Smith started strong with two of her best games early in the season and double digits in five of her first nine contests. She had a stretch of six games in double figures in seven games at the start of conference play and was one of the best players in the league. But then she started to be bothered by a minor knee injury, that forced her to miss three games. Smith only scored in double figures one time the rest of the season, with the knee injury seemingly bothering her the rest of the way. Smith only played 16 minutes and didn't take a shot in the season-ending loss to Maryland. Jude Schimmel was taking some minutes away from her late after Smith played a bulk of the minutes early in the season.

Best game: Smith had 16 points in the opener but had her best game against Western Kentucky. She hit 8 of 9 from the field and finished with 16 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists against the Toppers.

Projected future: Smith will be one of five seniors on next year's roster and is perhaps the most important – along with Sara Hammond. She's a former McDonald's All-American and has to see her play return to the elite level. Smith has 932 career points, 196 career steals and 458 career rebounds, while watching her shooting average improve each season. It must do that again.

Quotable: "I have to step up and be more of a leader now," Smith said "We're just going to work hard and try to continue what we've done before, try to build on what the seniors left here."

Bottom line: Smith was playing the best ball of her career early in the season but she missed three games in early February and never got back to the level she was playing before the injury. Smith will have all summer to hone her skills and her play will be a major factor as to how good the Cardinals will be next season.

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