JoAnna Smith is the hardest worker and the best player from last year’s MAC Championship squad. In her final year as a Bull, the sky’s the limit.
Hometown: Southhaven, Mississippi
New to Buffalo?
If you think she’s new, where have you been?
Smith has been on the floor ever since she arrived in Buffalo. Her freshman year was a development year, but she still saw eight minutes on the floor a night. Her sophomore campaign is where real improvement showed as she started 20 games and provided some nice secondary scoring as she tacked on 5.6 points per game.
Then, last year happened.
As a junior, the word “dominance” can best describe JoAnna’s efforts. Her scoring output skyrocketed to 18.3 points per game—the highest improvement in the entire nation. With the ball in Smith’s hands, you never felt uneasy. Her 100 three-pointers from last season was a new program record and it’s hard to imagine that she won’t break that mark this season.
To imagine last year’s team without JoAnna Smith is mind-boggling. Without her, Buffalo doesn’t stand a chance in conference play offensively.
Further Reading and Viewing:
Just about any Bull Run recap from last season:
Joanna Smith scored 26 points, UB overcame 15-4 and 21-9 deficits, and Niagara will have to wait another year to get their first win over the Bulls since 2004 after Buffalo went on the road and comes home from Lewiston with a 57-48 win over their local rival.
Joanna Smith was the story here as she started raining three after three pointer. By the end of the third, Smith already had a double-double.
Joanna Smith was scintillating for Buffalo, pouring in 23 on 5-9 three-point shooting
“We’re going to rely on her,” said UB coach Felisha Legette-Jack. “We’re going through Jo. We’ve taught her this year to go off the bounce a little more and make some decisions off the bounce. We’re going to try to expand her game. She’s our only senior. We’re going to win or lose thorough Jo. Her shoulders are strong enough to handle that.”
This one’s a great read from Sloane Martin—who we’ll miss deeply on the airwaves this season.
Smith will continue to be a force and have a solid candidacy for MAC Player of the Year. I will not be surprised to see her scoring jump from 18.3 points per game to 23-25 or so. JoAnna is going to keep the Bulls in many games with just her offense alone.
This season could also pan out well for her future. JoAnna has a chance — it’s small, but anything can happen — to be in the WNBA. If she does enough to get eyes on her as a mid-major player, it can definitely happen, despite her size disadvantage. As of right now, she most definitely has a pro career awaiting her overseas.
Bottom line: This is JoAnna Smith’s year.