FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield University's Casey Smith, a Danbury native, was named to the All-Met third team by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association.
After sitting out for two seasons and dealing with a nagging high school injury, Smith finally got on to the court and had one of the best rookie seasons in Stags’ history.
Smith finished just three points shy of tying the program’s all-time rookie scoring record as she netted a team-high 370 points, the most by a Fairfield first-year player since 1988. Smith also tied a program record as she was named the MAAC Rookie of the Week six times and was selected as the ECAC Rookie of the Week three times.
“I'm very humbled to have received All-Met honors,” Smith said. “It's exciting to be recognized after sitting out for so long.”
Head Coach Joe Frager said, “That’s quite an honor for a first year player.”
Smith capped her season by becoming the first player in program history to be named to two all-conference squads (All-Rookie Team and All-MAAC Third Team).
Smith transferred to Fairfield after sitting out one season at Saint Joseph’s University, where she did not see any action. Smith was still nursing a knee injury she suffered in her senior season at Danbury High School, a year where she helped the team to a 25-0 record by averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game.
“Recovering from my injury was mentally and physically tough,” Smith said. “I had to learn how to walk, run and move on the court again all while regaining strength and confidence in myself.”
Smith and the Stags were denied the motion by the NCAA, which would have made her eligible to play in the 2013-14 season, forcing her to sit out another season.
“She could only practice with us for that one season so that’s over two years away from game competition,” Frager said. “Casey persevered and had a really solid season for us.”
The time away from the court was frustrating for Smith.
“I lost a lot of confidence sitting out, and also forgot how much I really loved the game,” she said. “But our coaches had faith in me throughout the whole process. I wasn't sure if I could make an immediate impact, but they told me what I had to do in order to get better and I knew if I worked hard I had the possibility of playing a lot.
“My overall experience tearing my ACL, recovering, transferring and now finally being able to play basketball competitively makes me respect and appreciate the game that much more,” Smith said. “As a player I have come a long way, but I know I also have a long way to go.”
Smith had her best game of the season this year against Iona when she notched her only career double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
“She knows there is work left to be done,” Frager said. “I believe she can get even better.”
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