Well-traveled Smith leads SDSU women’s basketball

by Matt Fierst, Staff Writer

For someone who grew up in Aurora, Colorado, and committed to play basketball at Boston College, ending up at San Diego State would seem unlikely.

SDSU women’s basketball senior forward Deidra Smith’s journey is exactly that.

Smith played and graduated from Denver East High in Colorado, where she averaged 14 points and seven rebounds per game as a senior, and led her team to a 5A state title as a junior.

After high school, Smith committed and played one season at Boston College. Her commitment to Boston College was a way of branching out and growing up.

“I was stubborn and rebellious,” Smith said. “I wanted to go where I didn’t know anybody and nobody could tell me anything.”

At the end of her freshman season at Boston College, a new coaching staff was appointed, which made her think about transferring.

She didn’t take getting homesick into account when she made her decision to go to college across the country.

“The only time my family was going to come and watch me play was my senior night, so for the four years I would have been there potentially, they would have only come to one game,” Smith said.

Either way, she decided to make the leap and transfer to SDSU.

In her one year at Boston College, Smith averaged 2.7 points and 1.7 rebounds per game, not quite the numbers she was looking for.

Ultimately, it was SDSU’s affiliation with the Mountain West swayed her to come to Montezuma Mesa.

“I wanted to be far enough from Colorado, but I wanted to be able to play at home,” Smith said. “ (SDSU) plays Air Force (Academy) and Colorado State, so all my family can come watch me and support me.”

As a sophomore at SDSU, she averaged 6.2 points and 3.8 rebounds and appeared in all 30 games. In her junior year, she averaged 4.7 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

Smith indicated the Aztecs’ coaching staff has made the biggest difference in her improvement at SDSU.

Off the court, the move to SDSU has been both demanding and enjoyable for Smith.

“My freshman year was very stressful,” Smith said. “I didn’t know what schools were still going to be interested in me, and I pretty much went through the transfer process by myself. I think mentally it affected me a lot because I was scared no one was going to want me again.”

Head coach Stacie Terry said Smith has had a big impact on the program, and that she is going to play a large role in the team’s potential success this season.

Smith is the projected starting center this season.

“There is a lot of responsibility she has on the court,” Terry said. “She played behind two seniors last year, so this year is going to be her year to kind of take over in the paint and be a dominant force inside for us.”

Terry has noticed Smith, one of just two seniors on the team, has shwon an increased determination to be a leader on the court.

“(There’s more of a) sense of urgency,” Terry said.

“She is excited for this role that she is going to have and she has waited patiently for it. I think she is ready to accept the challenges that are ahead of her.”

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