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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Women’s basketball senior Steph Smith overcomes ACL injury, looks to improve


After an ACL injury sidelined her for her entire junior season, senior forward Steph Smith is enjoying her time back on the court. Smith endured the physical and emotional hardships of rehab in order to come back and play at the highest level. Smith is one of the few Loyola women’s basketball players to have competed in both the MAAC and Patriot League conferences.

So far in the first 19 games of the season, Smith is averaging 4.3 points a game, shooting 60 percent from the free throw line and is third on the team in total rebounds with 81. 

Steph Smith recently sat down with The Greyhound to discuss a variety of subjects.


Q&A with Steph Smith:

You were playing really well before the ACL injury. What was it like not being able to play junior year because of the injury?

It was definitely tough not being able to play. During the first game of my junior year, I was out with the team during warm-ups and then once the team went back into the locker room and I had to stay on the bench, I just lost it. Not being able to play hit me and I bawled.


What was it like stepping back on the court to play this season?

It was definitely scary, and still is very scary. I was afraid of getting hit on the court and taking hits. I wasn’t getting as many rebounds as I probably should have but each game, it gets a little bit better.


This team is almost an entirely new team from last year’s squad – because of injured players returning, freshman, and Colleen Marshall coming in as a transfer.

How have you been able to adjust to playing with everyone? 

Well, it definitely was an adjustment. None of us really played together before. We all had to get used to each other and each of our playing styles.


You’ve been a D1 athlete for four years now. You experienced the transition from the MAAC to the Patriot League firsthand. So having played in both leagues, what were some of the takeaways throughout that transition process?

Well playing in the MAAC division, it was easy to predict which teams were going to finish where. Marist usually finished somewhere at the top of the standings and Saint Peter’s usually finished somewhere at the bottom of the standings. The competition in the Patriot League is a lot more even. Anyone can win at any given time.


So in Patriot League play, you guys are 3-5. You had that big upset over Lehigh earlier this month. But currently you are in fourth place in the standings.

What do you think is priority for improving Patriot League play and securing a spot in the conference tournament?

Well, since the Patriot League teams have such even competition, I think we need to stay strong for the whole game. We played great against Lehigh and then had a slip-up against Lafayette but that’s how the league is.


In the Patriot League, it’s a one-bid conference. You win; you go to the NCAA tournament. In the beginning of the season, Coach Logan had you guys playing some tougher, out of conference teams. (GTown, MD, PITT, East Carolina)

What’s your mindset going into those games? What was your biggest takeaway from playing those teams and specifically, how do you think it helped improve yourself and the team? 

We play those harder teams so that the when we reach conference play, the Patriot League can seem easy. We definitely are challenged in those games, we go against the biggest and the best players in women’s college basketball but it forces us to work our hardest and to stay confident.


You’ve got about a month left of regular season play. What’s your number one goal for the rest of the season? 

I think my number one goal is to improve my shots. I may make one shot at the right time in a game but then end up going 1-for-9 for the rest of the game.


Is there a reason behind wearing number 32?

Well in high school I wore number 31 and in AAU I wore number 33. Both those numbers were taken when I came to Loyola so I went with number 32.


What is your favorite professional sports team?

The Philadelphia Eagles.


What is your favorite show to binge watch on Netflix?

True Blood.


What did you want to be when you were younger?

I wanted to be a teacher but then learned that I didn’t exactly have the patience for kids, so I figured that I would just stick with babysitting.


What’s one thing you can’t live without?



Favorite class at Loyola?



Pregame rituals?

I don’t really have any pregame rituals, but one thing I do for every game is that I always wear a long sleeve. One time a referee told me that my long sleeve was too loose and that really threw me off the rest of the game.


Who has been your biggest influence in your athletic career? 

My dad.


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Women’s basketball senior Steph Smith overcomes ACL injury, looks to improve